So I was playing around with Inkscape, a free illustration software, tonight and through some trial and error I was able to convert Inkscape files to gcode with MakerCam. Here is how I did it - if anyone has any different methods for doing this let me know.
- Open an Inkscape Document and then go to File --> Document Properties. I set up the document to be 4 by 8 ft (the size of the plywood) with measurements in inches. I find this template easy to visualize cuts.
- Next turn on the grid system (View --> Grids) and then drag guidelines (View–> Guides) to 48 inches and 24 inches to mimic the Ground Control setup. This helps even more with visualization as well. Draw whatever you like. I drew a circle for this demo. Also convert your object to a path by selecting your object and clicking Path --> Object to Path.
- MakerCam doesn’t like inches or 4 by 8 ft files so when you have everything layed out in Inkscape you should resize to just the objects you want to cut and change all dimensions to pixels. Select your objects and go back to File --> Document Properties. This time select resize to selection and change all dimensions back to pixels. Now save your Inkscape drawing as a .svg.
- Now go to MakerCam.com and open the .svg which you just saved. A note about preferences - the SVG Import Default Resolution should be changed to match the DPI settings in Inkscape. Newer versions of Inkscape should be 96 but to check this type shift+ctrl+p to get preferences in Inkscape and then click “bitmap” in the left column. Check out @Jamtek 's comment below for a screen shot.
- Set up your tools paths. Instructions on how to do so can be found here.
- Export to gcode with the instructions above as well.
My circle is north by about a foot for some reason. I’ll figure out why when I have some more time or I’ll just move the home point to compensate. I’m excited to try a cut with this method. Hopefully soon!
I did some testing to verify the the MakerCam importation scaling on Inkscape for my computer. Basically while cutting out a letter “N” just for fun I added a small 2" by 4" box in Inkscape. I imported at 96 px/in and 90 px/in and matched to the inch grid on MakerCam shown below respectively. 90 was the winner! It is an easy verification test for scaling. Note: Jamtek’s comment below is a much easier way to verify this :).