Inkscape to Laser Cutter via Illustrator

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From Inkscape to laser cutter via Illustrator

The software used on the laser cutter, Thunder, does not support importing SVG files directly so you need to do something a bit more involved. Also it was discovered that Inkscape's 'Export as DXF' feature did not generate DXF files that were representative of your Inkscape drawings when loaded into Thunder (extra lines were added for more complicated union type shapes). As such this method involves going via Adobe Illustrator.

  • Create design in Inkscape with black as 'cut' and red as 'scan'.
  • Export from Inkscape as SVG.
  • Import to Adobe Illustrator.
  • Note that the scale is wrong, this is because Inkscape exports as 90dpi and Illustrator imports as 72dpi.
  • Select all in illustrator, right click, select 'scale' off the menu, and scale to 80% (20% smaller).
  • Export from Illustrator as .ai file, CS3 is too new for Thunder to import, choose to export as an earlier version of illustrator, v3.
  • Copy to to laser cutter machine.
  • Open Thunder and select File->Import to load illustrator file.
  • Change red colour to 'scan' from 'cut'.
  • Change cut and scan parameters depending on material.

Method 2

Don't bother with Illustrator, but instead export from Inkscape as .dxf and import into the laser program as dxf


NOTE: Parameters are different for each material, thickness and also change over time based on the wear on the laser.

parameters for 2mm MDF

  • cut, speed 20mm/s, power 75%
  • scan, speed 200mm/s, power 35%

parameters for 6mm MDF

  • cut, speed 10mm/s, power 75% (10mm is not slow enough)

parameters for poundland cardboard

  • cut, speed 100mm/s, power 18-20%