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How to prepare gcode files for gctrl (and Processing) with Inkscape 0.48.5

In the previous tutorial, be build a mini CNC plotter with Arduino Uno by recycling 2 old dvd players. Here’s how to prepare your gcode files needed for the gctrl program. It’s very easy to prepare your own gcode files with the Unicorn MakerBot extension for Inkscape available here. For those who do not know, Inkscape is an open source (and free) vector drawing software.

Depending on your computer, download and install Inkscape version 0.48.5 here. Then, retrieve the Unicorn MakerBot extension on GitHub. To install it, simply copy the src directory contents into the Inkscape extensions directory. Depending on your environment, here is the installation path of the extension.

Note that the MaketBot Unicorn extension does not work beyond Inkscape version 0.48.5.

  • OS X – /Applications/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/extensions
  • Linux – /usr/share/inkscape/extensions
  • Windows – C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions

With the extension installed, you can open Inkscape.

First, you must first configure the document properties (file -> document properties). Select the default unit in cm with a page size of 8 cm x 8 cm.

mini traceur arduino - inkscape gcode etape 1

You have an area of 4cm x 4 cm. Your drawing must remain in the upper right quarter.

mini traceur arduino - inkscape gcode etape 2

Your finished drawing, selected all items then go to Path -> Object in Path. This transformation is necessary before generating the gcode file. However, you will lose certain properties of the objects (eg the text will no longer be editable). If you want to make subsequent changes, save your work in svg format before doing the conversion.

mini traceur arduino - inkscape gcode etape 3

The conversion done, we can generate the gcode file. Just make file -> save as then select Makerbot Unicorn (this is the extension we previously installed). If the option is not available, the extension is not properly installed.

mini traceur arduino - inkscape gcode etape 4

Validate without changing anything in the dialog box that appears next.

mini traceur arduino - inkscape export gcode

And now you are ready to trace your work!

I hope you find everything you need to make your Mini Plotter. I hope I did not forget anything. Do not hesitate to share your experience or add your tricks. The comments are there for that.

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