What’s the best toolpath for SVG to OpenSCAD?

While I have one selfish motive for wanting a reliable toolpath for going from an SVG to OpenSCAD, I’d also like to do a tutorial on this. 1 2.

  • I can export an SVG from Inkscape to a DXF.
  • I can import that same DXF into OpenSCAD.
  • I can’t render the DXF or extrude it into a solid.

I just can’t seem to make OpenSCAD make heads or tails of that DXF.  Is this a problem with the DXF files produced by Inkscape?  A little bit of Googling tells me that Inkscape v0.48 (the one I’m using) exports in DXF R13 format which includes features that are not well supported by OpenSCAD.  My attempts at finding plugins that will successfully allow Inkscape to expert to DXF R12 format have not been fruitful.

  1. 3D Models with OpenSCAD on Make uses a toolpath that isn’t available in my version of Inkscape
  2. DXF R12 exporter, didn’t work for me
  3. DXF R12 exporter, didn’t work for me either
  4. Yet another DXF R12 exporter that did not work for me
  5. Link suggesting that something called “pstoedit” might be helpful in converting SVG’s to DXF R12’s.
  6. From Photo to Inkscape to DXF to OpenSCAD to MakerBot to Costume Jewelry is an excellent tutorial on the exact toolpath I would like to get working

After MUCH fiddling around I have discovered that the only DXF exporting plugin I can get to work is the one called “Better DXF Output”, NOT to be confused with “Better Better DXF Output.”  Unfortunately, I’ve installed so many of these little plugins I no longer recall exactly which combination of them might actually be working for me.  I’ll do a little investigation and post a short tutorial on how it’s worked for me.

Edit: I’m 85% certain this is the plugin that worked for me.  http://www.bobcookdev.com/inkscape/inkscape-dxf.html

  1. Selfish as in I already have an idea for how I would use this knowledge to make something cool. []
  2. What could it be?  Hint:  It’s related to something that rhymes with “Doctor Who” []

8 Responses to “What’s the best toolpath for SVG to OpenSCAD?”

  1. […] What’s the best toolpath for SVG to OpenSCAD? […]

  2. Nudel says:

    It works fine with the vanilla Inkscape 0.47 plugin, but has some limitations which are easy to overcome.
    I made a small tutorial to explain: http://repraprip.blogspot.com/2011/05/inkscape-to-openscad-dxf-tutorial.html


  3. Brad Pitcher says:

    I ran into this problem and I believe the one I found that worked for me was called Big Blue Saw. The only problem was that Inkscape (or maybe it was the plugin) seems to really screw up the size of things. Every time I used it I ended up having to open the .dxf in QCad to correct the size and positioning. Do you have that problem?

  4. Tony Buser says:

    I have pretty good luck using pstoedit, you can see my workflow here: http://tonybuser.com/2d-to-3d

  5. MakerBlock says:

    @Tony: Awesome! That’s perfect
    @Nudel: Thanks for making this tutorial! I may Bogart the v0.47 plugin for my v0.48!
    All: I think the above plugin for Inkscape may be able to just fix this issue outright without the need for extra steps or installations.

  6. Nudel says:

    Oh.. I have forgotten to check for new versions for a while, but the method I described (make all segments lines) works fine with 0.48 as well.

  7. eric says:

    Apparently better dxf output exports the polylines with no pen. Use librecad, edit layer 1 and choose line type: continous, and it works after smoothly with an extrude in openscad.

  8. MakerBlock says:

    @eric: Awesome – thank you!

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