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Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape

At Big Blue Saw, we get files from our customers in a variety or formats: from AI to ZIP. Our online quoting system and waterjet cutting machines really work best with DXF format files, though. Inkscape, the open source vector graphics editor has proven extremely useful in dealing with a variety of file types.

This Big Blue Saw DXF Export for Inkscape is based on Better DXF Export and Better Better DXF Export.

It has the following additional features:

  • Fixed Python version incompatibility crash on Linux.
  • Inches supported as the measurement units.
  • Curves are converted to smaller, more accurate line segments. This improves the final part quality.
  • Color output was supported.
  • Layer names have spaces converted to underscore for improved compatibility.
  • It has been tested on Linux as well as Windows.


To install:

On Linux or Windows:

  1. Close all open Inkscape windows.
  2. Download the ZIP file containing Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape using the link at the bottom of this article.
  3. Unpack the ZIP file into your Inkscape extensions directory: typically C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions on Windows or /usr/share/inkscape/extensions on Linux. You will need to overwrite the file with the version included in the ZIP archive.
  4. Restart Inkscape.

  5. Hints for the Macintosh platform, courtesy of John Markham:

    The extensions folder is: /Applications/

    A dependency will be noted when attempting to save as DXF the first time:

    "The fantastic lxml wrapper for libxml2 is required by and therefore this extension. Please download and install the latest version from, or install it through your package manager by a command like: sudo apt-get install python-lxml"

    Which can be installed with pip.

To use after you've installed Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape:

  1. Create your drawing as normal.
  2. Ungroup all items by selecting everything (Ctrl-A or Edit | Select All from the menu) and then ungrouping repeatedly (Shift-Ctrl-G or Object | Ungroup) until all groups are broken apart.
  3. Convert all objects to paths. You can do this items by selecting everything (Ctrl-A or Edit | Select All from the menu) and then pressing Shift-Ctrl-C or choosing Path | Object to Path from the menu.
  4. Choose File | Save As from the menu. In the dialog box that appears, choose "Big Blue Saw DXF Output" and click the Save button.



One more thing, for those reading this far. Most of the time when I, personally, want to get a DXF from a file loaded in Inkscape, I save it as an EPS, and convert to DXF using the pstoedit package. This preserves splines and curves, which is nice, but requires the use of a command-line tool, which isn't for everyone.

More information on using Inkscape with Big Blue Saw for laser or waterjet cutting. Turn your Inkscape drawings into real metal or plastic parts.

Ready to turn your Inkscape designs into real parts made of metal, plastic, or other materials? Sign up for our FREE e-mail course.

Learn about:

  • The easiest way to order parts based on your Inkscape designs
  • What kinds of metals and plastics to use in your project
  • Getting the best prices on waterjet and laser cutting

Update 0.2: Bug fix based upon report from commenter blackfox. Download the new version of Big Blue Saw's DXF Export For Inkscape Here.

Learn more about how Big Blue Saw can turn Inkscape designs into real parts.

... I think there is a bug in the script or at least an existing problem:I tried to convert a complex drawing but the python-script run endless (over one hour!). Tryed with a simple one for testing and everything was ok, so I tryed removing parts till the problem dissapeared => it seams that it has to do with path-attributes "sodipodi:nodetypes"... I would be very very glad if that could be fixed!
Big Blue Saw Administrator Saturday, 28 August 2010
I can take a look at it. E-mail me the problem drawing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Your script adjustments are just great. Already, I'm able to get Inkscape vector graphics into QCAD (my DXF tool of choice) quite easily. I'd like to make adjustments to your script so that I can stick to mm (as I'm creating gcode for a pen plotter with this tool, and am working with mm for the print stage). Also, I'd love to make adjustments to the length of the lines that replace the circles and such. Any suggestions?I'm so excited that you are working on this right now -- right when I had reached my limit with Inkscape DXF export frustration!
Big Blue Saw Administrator Tuesday, 31 August 2010
I'll see what I can do. Right now I'm waiting to hear back from blackfox about a fix to his problem.
Thank you from IrelandBest wishes
Just checking back to see if you have suggestions about making the length of lines interpreting circles/arcs an adjustable parameter as well as offering an mm export option (instead of inches). Thanks! Matt
Big Blue Saw Administrator Tuesday, 07 September 2010
I'm working on it as I can and will update this page with the details of any updates. As far as the length of the lines, try changing the lineself.flatness = 0.01in
is there a plugin for Inkscape 0.48 that will save my file to dxf or dwg.that I can (import)open in autocad or sketchup?I tried (better better DxF export and itwill not convert my svg file to dxf.regards Laz
Big Blue Saw Administrator Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Did you try Big Blue Saw's DXF Export for Inkscape, as described on this very web page?If that doesn't work, you could try opening the created file in QCad, re-saving, then opening the resulting file in whatever software you want.
Thanks for the tip on pstoedit! I've been playing around with all sorts of convertors and software, and that worked immediately for me :-)

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Big Blue Saw
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Phone: (678) WAY-SAW4 (678) 929-7294