Adrian McEwen edited this page Apr 27, 2017 · 11 revisions

Inkscape is designed for creating vector drawings, it isn't a 2d cad package, but it works. If you don't already have a favourite vector editor you can download inkscape for free from


Document properties

When you open a new Inkscape document it's worth changing the 'Default units' to mm in the Document properties (File > Document Properties or Shift - Ctrl - D) You can also resize your document from this dialogue.


It may be useful to set a grid at the same spacing as the material is thick, this allows joints to be made more easily.

To do this go

File>Document properties>Grids

The grid may be hidden via:


Useful tools

To draw lines use the Bezier tool (shift+F6) or 2 below the spiral tool on the main toolbar.

Paths may be split/broken into separate paths so part may be moved/deleted etc by using the edit paths tool (F2) or second on the toolbar, select a single node and press shift+b.Although this seems to sometimes create "compound paths" that need to be separated using Ctrl+Shift+K.

Duplicate objects by selecting and pressing shift+D

Object>transform (Shift+Ctrl+m) can resize objects predictably.

Change the fill and stroke mode (to no fill and black stroke) by right clicking on the colour bar at the bottom.


Straight to .dxf

When saving a file for use with lasercutting, use dxf R13 format [Desktop Cutting Plotter (AutoCAD DXF R14)] and use the following setting:

Uncheck "...ROBO-Master..."

Check "...LWPOLYLINE..."

Set "Base Unit" to mm

You should also save a copy of the main file in Inkscape's SVG format.

Via .eps

If you have problems importing a .dxf file from Inkscape into the Laser cutter software try using .eps Save the file from Inkscape as an .eps file, and then convert it to .dxf by either:

Handy Extensions

Laser friendly fonts

Summary of single-line fonts

Hershey Text was a popular Inkscape extension for creating laser friendly text. It's included in Inkscape since version 0.91.0, so there is no need to install it anymore. It can be found in Extensions > Render > Hershey Text.

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