Inkscape extension that generates G-code suitable for a 3.5/4 axis CNC machine (XYZ plus tangent A)
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README.rst

Documentation Status

TCNC

Tcnc is an Inkscape (version .91+) extension that generates G-code suitable for a 3.5 axis CNC machine controlled by LinuxCNC v2.4+. The rotational axis (A) is assumed to rotate about the Z axis and is kept tangent to movement along the X and Y axes.

It is currently used to produce output for a painting apparatus based on a modified Fletcher 6100 CNC mat cutter controlled by LinuxCNC. A stepper controlled Z axis was added. The original pneumatic tool pusher was left on and is triggered by spindle_on. This allows for fast brush lifts along with very fine Z axis control. I haven't tested this with anything else so YMMV.

Tcnc uses biarc approximation to convert Bezier curves into circular arc segments. This produces smaller G code files and is very accurate.

Machine-specific Behavior

You can specify a tool width in Tcnc to compensate for tool trail. Tool trail is the distance between the center of rotation around the Z axis and the tool contact point. This is a property of flexible brushes. This minimizes weird looking brush strokes during relatively sharp changes in direction and produces a better looking brush path.

Other Inkscape Extensions in This Package

Quasink

Quasink is an Inkscape extension that produces quasicrystal/Penrose tessellations. Even and odd degrees of symmetry are supported. This extension has a lot of obscure options that are probably only useful to me...

It is based on quasi.c by Eric R. Weeks. See <http://www.physics.emory.edu/~weeks/software/quasic.html> for more info.

Rhombus fills are done using LUTs instead of the unusual coloring method used in the original code.

Voronoi

Create Voronoi diagrams from points or the vertices of arbitrary geometry.

Polysmooth

Smooth polyline/polygons using Bezier splines. Allows the user to specify the amount of smoothing applied.

Sinewave

Create a nice sine wave using cubic Bezier approximation.

Installing Tcnc

  1. Download the latest version.
  2. Unzip/extract the downloaded archive file (master.zip).
  3. Copy or move the contents of the tcnc/inkinx folder to the user Inkscape extension folder.
  4. Copy or move the entire tcnc/tcnc folder to the user Inkscape extension folder.
  5. Restart Inkscape.

Location of user Inkscape extension folder:

  • MacOS, Linux:

    ~/.config/inkscape/extensions, where ~ is your home directory (i.e. /Users/YourUserName).

  • Windows:

    C:\Users\YourUserName\.Appdata\Roaming\inkscape\extensions

Notes

These extensions do not depend at all on the extension libraries supplied with Inkscape. In fact, you can run these extensions as standalone command line tools without having to install Inkscape.

All the code is written for Python 2.7.x with some consideration for compatibility with Python 3. Porting to Python 3 should be relatively painless but I have not tried it.

Etc...

Tcnc is an ongoing project that is mainly designed for my own use and some of the features may seem weirdly specific. Some of the code is in a high state of flux due to rapid cycle experimentation.

There are some handy libraries, such as the SVG and geometry packages, that may be useful in other projects. I rewrote the Inkscape extension classes since the .91 version broke the .48 extensions and I just wanted to hoist more of the biolerplate involved with writing Inkscape extensions.

I added a docunits option checker to convert UI values to current document units automatically. The creation of a debug layer and logging output file is done by the extension base class as well.

If you find this useful, great!

There is absolutely no warranty for any purpose whatsoever. Use at your own risk.

Emails, pull requests, feature requests, and issues are infrequently examined and may be left ignored for an uncomfortably long period of time... Sorry about that.