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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 https://inkscape.org/en/download/
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
The grid may be hidden via:
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:
Set "Base Unit" to mm
You should also save a copy of the main file in Inkscape's SVG format.
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:
- Using the version of Corel Draw on Sophia's computer
- Using pstoedit as detailed in https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/OpenSCAD_User_Manual/Other_2D_formats
The Eggbot software has some nice extensions for Inkscape with CNC output - e.g. the Hershey text extension provides some new fonts which draw the font as a stroke rather than in the fill- See the laser friendly fonts below
- https://github.com/hellerbarde/inkscape-boxmaker - a tabbed box generator extension
- http://boxmaker.rahulbotics.com/ - another tabbed box generator (not Inkscape-specific)
- http://makeabox.io/ - and another (also not Inkscape-specific)
- Not an extension as such, but http://www.cambam.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1557.0 has a nice collection of single stroke fonts
- https://github.com/Neon22/inkscape-jigsaw - an extension to create jigsaw puzzles and pieces
Laser friendly 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.