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Author Topic: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).  (Read 1012 times)

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Offline pawl

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Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« on: January 08, 2018, 01:40:38 PM »
Hello everyone,

My first post here. Brynn was nice enough to suggest my posting this to this forum and I hope there's some lesson(s) possible for more than just me.

I need to convert a line drawing (jpg) to a dxf file for a metal artisan's plasma cutter. I work on a Mac (16 GB RAM) and have thus far been working in Photoshop, starting with silhouettes and ending up with a single line "drawing."

The current project entails cutting a pictorial steel panel to be set inside a framed gate. The panel measures 94 x 41 inches (yes, large), and although the bulk of the design is simply an arch, there are a few more detailed areas with outlines of trees. I've tried to work in Adobe Illustrator but it can't handle tracing this file. When I've loaded it into Inkscape and selected Trace Pixel Art (and hit OK), nothing happens beyond the warning box (large size may take time) and a subsequent window that remains blank (as though it's a process window that never completes). The jpg is 25 mb.

I'm attaching a small image (silhouette) and a detail of one side (trees).

I'm at a loss as to how to proceed and we need to cut the panel this week. Any help will be most thoroughly appreciated. (I posted to Adobe Illustrator and the reply, regarding Image Trace in that program, was no help.)

Thank you all kindly,

Paul

gate-silhouette.jpg
*gate-silhouette.jpg
(61.59 kB . 1762x766)
(viewed 107 times)

gate-cl.jpg
*gate-cl.jpg
(123.08 kB . 576x398)
(viewed 109 times)



Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 05:22:50 PM »
Hi Paul!

Ok, since you're working in inches, we should start a whole new Inkscape file.  That's because the settings you need to change will change the size of anything that's already in the file, and it gets crazy trying to get it back to the original size.  So open a new blank document, and then follow these steps.

File menu > Document Properties > Page tab > Display Units  (at the very top) -- set for px

File menu > Document Properties > Page tab > Scale  (about halfway down) -- set for 1.0

File menu > Document Properties > Page tab > Display Units  (at the very top) -- set for in

Note that when you set the units for inches, the Scale setting will automatically change (again).  But now, it's at the correct setting, so don't change it anymore.

Yes, I know it's a little bit of a crazy routine.  (Developers made some changes in the last version, which I disagree with.  I only hope they will make these things happen behind the scene, in the next version.)  Anyway, most of the time this routine is necessary.  But not always.  To make sure it's necessary, would it be possible for you to do a tiny test run on the cutter?  Or ask your guy if he uses a simulator, where you can make sure the size is correct.  Possibly you could even download a simulator - there are some nice free ones.

Better to do that before you start drawing.  Hopefully you'll just need to make a phone call to find out.

If you need to set the page to a certain size, you can do that in the area between the Display Units and Scale.  You can either choose a stock size from the menu, or you can set a custom size and units.  If you need the page to be the same size as the drawing, we can do that at the end.  Just let me know so I don't forget.

Let's draw a one inch square, to test that Inkscape is configured correctly.

1 -- Enable the Rectangle tool  :rect:

2 -- Press the mouse button, and drag the mouse while you're holding down the button.  Release the button when you see it appears to be generally the right size.

3 -- Switch to the Selection tool  :sel:  Look on the toolbar which is just above the horizontal ruler.  That's the "control bar" and the buttons and options on it change, depending on which tool is enabled.  I'll refer you to the control bar a lot, as we go.

4 -- While the rectangle you drew is selected, locate the "W" and "H" fields.  Make sure the tiny lock icon, which is between them, is not enabled.  The lock (tiny as it is) (well, at least on windows it's tiny) should appear to be open.

5 -- Set both W and H to 1.000  (if you type the number, rather than roll the arrows, be sure to press Enter after typing)

6 -- While the square is still selected, do Path menu > Object to Path

7 -- File menu > Save As

8 -- Send it to the cutter for a test run, or send to a simulator to make sure it comes out exactly 1 inch.

While you're working on that, I'll start writing steps for the rest.

Just a couple more questions before I start.  I notice that the JPG you uploaded is....well I'm not sure exactly, but way smaller than 94 inches.  But even at 94 inches, the detail in the trees will be very intricate for cutting.  Has your buddy with the torch cutter signed off on the design?  Does he already knows that the cutter can handle that detail?

For example,  looking at your larger JPG showing the trees detail, you can see that there are several little "holes".  Well, I guess that's not part of "my job" but you'd be surprised how often we find people have not thought through everything.  Also, we can easily edit out a lot of that detail, if necessary -- it would still look like tree silhouettes, but less detail.

Is the JPG that you uploaded the actual JPG that you're going to use?  If so, we'll have to scale the results of your tracing.  Or do you have a JPG that's already the correct size?
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Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 05:26:37 PM »
Some cutters need the width of the line or path to be a specific value.  Some of them need the line to be a specific color.  You should ask your cutter guy about that too.
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Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 05:48:31 PM »
Brynn,

I did not include the line drawing jpg, which does measure 94" x 41" at 300 dpi. That file is 24mb, as I mentioned. At 300 dpi, the equivalent in px is 28200 x 12300, or in mm about 2387.6 x 1041.4. I could save/work in any of these, so if one is easier in Inkscape, let me know.

As for working with the cutter, I know the machine well enough that with 3/8" steel plate there's at least 1/4" of steel (he calls it "meat") required to hold together any two sections (avoid inadvertent drop-outs. In the case of lettering, for example, any font needs this much to avoid drop-outs. (I usually work with a font and then manually "steniclize" it.) In the current project, we're using 1/8" plate, so the design can be more precise.

The scattered openings should simply add a feel of light through the trees, and should not be a problem. I can provide a link to the jpg file (the line drawing from the silhouette). Not sure if it's too big, at 24mb, to post here.

I successfully made the 1" square without hitch. (attaching for your review and will send to them)

Muchas gracias!

Paul

Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 07:05:13 PM »
Oh dear, I can't open DXF files.  I've never known why, but rarely need it, so I have not investigated.  But I'm sure you did fine  :)  If I need to look at your file though, you can send SVGs.

Well if any units are ok, you can start with a new blank file (again) which is in mm.  And that means that we don't need to touch the scale, and probably don't even need a test run.  Although I suppose it's always a good idea to make a test run with any large project.  I'll let you decide about that, and when we get to the last few steps, you can make whatever calculations are needed, if needed.

There are 2 ways to trace a raster image -- "manually" using Inskcape's Pen/Bezier tool, or auto-trace using Path menu > Trace Bitmap.  (Trace Pixel Art, which you mentioned before, is for tracing a specific type of digital artwork, known as pixelart.  It's actually made one pixel at a time, as far as I understand...although they must have certain shortcuts...  But anyway.

Did you already try to attach the full size JPG and got an error?  If not, go ahead and try to attach it.  I don't have any limits set for the size of individual attachments.  And I have the server set for pretty large images too.  There's a good chance it will work. 

I'm not getting very good results auto-tracing the JPG you uploaded.  The detail in the trees is not coming through, hardly at all.  I think we'll need to use the full size.  If it won't attach.....you could use file sharing, such as dropbox, which I know offers some free space (or free trial, or something).

Or, you could skip attaching it for me, and just try Trace Bitmap yourself.  It's not going to give you the final cutting paths, but you'll be able to see if the trees came out ok.  And if so, we can go on from there.  Or if not, I'll explain hand tracing. 

Just use the first option at the top, Brightness Cutoff, with the default Threshold value.  If the trees are close, but not quite ok, you can experiment with the Threshold.  (That darn preview is so tiny as to be worthless.) (in my opinion :) )  Just try not to keep too many results in the file, as you experiment, because this is going to challenge even your glorious 16 gb of ram.

Personally, I would use the Pen/Bezier tool, and "manually" trace it.  Once one of us can test Trace Bitmap with the full size image, we'll know how good of a result is possible.  It might turn out that manually tracing it is the best option.  But there's a little learning curve, and I know you're pressed for time.  So auto-tracing is probably better, as long as a decent result can be had.  If we can't get a good result with auto-trace, and you're having difficultly with the manual process, I could trace it out for you, pretty quick.  (Something I particularly enjoy, for some reason, is tracing raster images  :-S )
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Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 03:16:42 AM »
Fyi, I'm logging of now.  Should be back Tues evening or Tues night, in case no one else is around.
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Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 06:42:26 AM »
Strange, I had posted a couple of replies last night, Monday, but they didn't seem to get posted. I wonder if it was attachment size.

Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 06:49:42 AM »
Could it be that my last few posts were/are being reviewed by the moderators before posting?

« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 09:25:40 AM by pawl »

Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 09:40:05 AM »
Okay, now I believe my previous replies from yesterday have gone unposted because of the attachments. Brynn, are you sure that there is no size limit to the files uploaded? Anyway, I keep writing my thanks and mention some successful steps. maybe I'll simply say  :ur: for now and wait to hear back.

Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2018, 08:03:15 AM »
Well, your attempt to attach the image might not have resulted in an image in the forum.  But I actually found....is this the full size??  I found an image on the server, and managed download and save it!  The dimensions are 14,946 x  6519.  That must be the full size, right?

(I wonder why your JPG is 25 mb, but the PNG I saved is 832 kb.  Strange!)

I tried Trace Bitmap, and the results....well, here's a screenshot.  The trace results are in blue.

gate1.png
*gate1.png
(86.43 kB . 645x483)
(viewed 67 times)


Notice how on the spruce tree (2nd from the left) the lines appear to have a variable width?  That's because it's not a single path.  It's actually made of 2 paths, the "inside" edge and the "outside" edge.  That's just how auto-tracing works.*  You can extract one of those paths.  But depending on where you look, sometimes the inside edge path seems to be better, but in other places, the outside path looks better.

If it were me, I would choose hand tracing it, to get a single path which is correct everywhere.  I was hoping with the full size image, Trace Bitmap would give an acceptable result.  But considering the area of that screenshot will be something like 6 or 7 inches wide, those very small details will be more evident.

But, it's up to you in the end.  Here's a tutorial I wrote to teach how to trace with the Pen/Bezier tool:  https://forum.inkscapecommunity.com/index.php?action=articles;sa=view;article=45  There's one other tip that I did not include in that tutorial, so let me know if you decide to to draw it yourself, and I'll give you that tip.

Or if you want to use Trace Bitmap, I'll tell you how to extract a single path.  Unfortunately, it's not as easy as it seems.  But again, I have some tips for making it easier.

*There is a type of auto-tracing known as "single line trace" which will give a single path as a result.  Inkscape doesn't....or did I hear about an extension....?  I'll look it up.  But anyway, there is a drawback with the single line trace, so that when there are tight corners or even line intersections, the trace engine creates sort of a knot rather than a clean intersection or sharp angle.  It seems like I heard about an extension which gives Inkscape a single line trace.  I'll look that up after I post this. 

Actually, single line trace might work for this.  I'll be interested to try it, if there is such an extension.
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Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 08:26:15 AM »
Oops, not "single line trace".  It's really called "Centerline Trace".  And there is an extension for it.  I haven't tried it, but I will shortly.

https://github.com/Moini/inkscape-centerline-trace
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Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2018, 08:48:42 AM »
Note that on the page I linked in my last message, it shows how the centerline trace works, so you can get some general idea.  But truly, I would try it before deciding.

Unfortunately, it does not run "out of the box".  Something else has to be installed.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/autotrace/ 

I've downloaded it.  The README file says to see the INSTALL file for installation instructions.  But there is no INSTALL file.  So we'll have to investigate further for this.  (Edit - I found some installation instructions, which says to compile it, which I have no idea how to compile any program.  still investigating....)

However, there are other vector trace engines around, which also provide centerline trace.  I suppose I should know what they are, but....  Oh look, I did save one!  Fair warning, I've never tried this:  https://vectormagic.com/


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Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2018, 11:39:20 AM »
Hello Brynn,

I've been continuing work on this and would ask if you can review the attached svg file, which I have also saved as a dxf file for Jerry (my metal artisan). It may be sufficient for now.

Meanwhile, I too was looking at the centerline extension and can't say that I understand the install path either. Even if we install the autotrace extension via Terminal—for Mac—then what do we do with the package contents for the centerline extension. Easy for some to simply say "voila" and then it works, but for most of us, there appears to be a missing step.

Anyway, I'm also going to take your tutorial on tracing in Inkscape, since this may be the best option in the future (and may be for this as well).

Thanks again!!!!

Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 11:53:49 AM »
Did you forget to attach the file?  (I do that all the time   :uhoh: )

I just found out I gave the wrong link for the Centerline Trace extension.  The correct link is:

https://github.com/fablabnbg/inkscape-centerline-trace

The good news is that it contains installation instructions for everything!  I'm just working on that now.


Looking forward to seeing what you've achieved so far  :)
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Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2018, 11:55:04 AM »
 :duh:


Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2018, 12:00:04 PM »
Took a look at the alternate centerline download and for Macs it still points to first installing the autotrace [with no further instructions what to do with the centerline trace master files].

Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2018, 12:09:20 PM »
And we might have gotten the wrong AutoTrace files.  Well, at least for Windows, it looks like I need to download something different.

I can tell you what to do with the extension files.

-- Unpack the zip file
-- Copy both the PY and INX files into Inkscape's User Extension directory, which can be found on Edit menu > Inkscape Preferences > System > User Extension

They have to be in that folder, and not inside any other folder.  (It kind of bugs me how developers have organized it, that all the extensions are more or less thrown in there together, unorganized.  But I'm certainly no programmer - maybe that's a standard practice.)

I'll look at your file, first thing after lunch :)
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Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2018, 12:28:21 PM »
Oh gosh!  Here's the error message I got, trying to use the Centerline Trace extension on your image:

C:\Program Files\Inkscape 0.92.2\inkscape\lib\python2.7\site-packages/PIL/Image.py:2371: DecompressionBombWarning: Image size (97432974 pixels) exceeds limit of 89478485 pixels, could be decompression bomb DOS attack.
  DecompressionBombWarning)
Megapixel limit (2.0) exceeded. Scaling down by factor : 6.97971969351
Couldn't trace the path. Please make sure that the checkbox for tracing bright lines is set correctly and that your drawing has enough contrast.

"DecompressionBombWarning" ???

HAH!!
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Offline brynn

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2018, 12:44:25 PM »
Curiosity got the best of me. 

That looks like a good job!  How did you do it?  That looks like about twice the size of the smaller JPG that you shared.

The only problem I see, is that there are tons and tons more nodes than you need.  And from what I've heard, some cutters will balk at excessive number of nodes.  One way that's easy to get too many nodes is using the Pencil/Freehand tool.  That would be my best guess at what might have happened.  But Trace Bitmap is also famous for making tons of nodes where they aren't necessary, too.

I'll try to draw out, at least part of it, so you can see a more reasonable example.
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Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2018, 01:00:32 PM »
About to head to lunch myself, now.

Re the bomb warning (I just had to look it up), I found this, which points to system security software being cautious (or overly cautious). The article has to do with mac users, but may apply in this case. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5545892

Anyway, it appears to be large.

About hand-tracing, I agree if the excessive nodes are found along straight paths, but don't smooth curves depend on a [sometimes] high number of nodes?

In the past, Jerry has commented on how some of my designs have taken almost an hour to cut (24 x 40 in plate).  :f5:

Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2018, 01:11:38 PM »
How did you do it?

I followed your directions regarding Trace Bitmap, saved as svg, and then worked in Adobe Illustrator to clean up, as in removed the double trace—tedious, but not too.

Regarding the files to add in extensions, are these correct? (attached image)

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2018, 02:32:22 PM »
Re decompression bomb -- this is not a security warning.  I mean it's not coming from my security programs.  It's coming from Inkscape!  I might actually post to the mailing list about it, since it's so unexpected!

Interesting - did you use Illustrator because you're more familiar with it.  I could give you some tips to make it easier in Inkscape.  But maybe next time.

As far as I know, it just the PY and INX files in the main directory.  I've never heard of searching through sub-folders to find them.  Although to be honest, I had missed that rof.py file at the bottom.  Maybe that will fix the bomb problem, haha.  But I think the extension was working without it.

Oh right, yes, you can't help but have a large number of nodes for the trees.  It's just that you could accomplish the arches, theoretically with just 3 nodes each.  Although in this case, since it's so large, I might use more.  I'd have to experiment to find the best balance.

After I looked your path up close, it really looks pretty good, so I didn't draw an example.  I didn't look over the entire paths, but just some of the trees on each side.

Are you going to use that file, and just scale it up?  If so, you should be able to do some node editing, and reduce the nodes a lot, just by editing the arches.  Even if the machine will accept so many nodes, it's always a good idea to keep the file lean and mean, you know.  Plus, when I look at your file at around 10% zoom, I can see some irregularity in the arches. 

(I know some people who would use node editing to break up the whole path into many sections, and run Path menu > Simplify on them individually.  You probably don't want to go that far, but I'd do the arches for sure.)   You can't run Simplify on the whole image, because it takes away too many nodes for the trees (and grossly distorts the paths) and not enough nodes from the arches.

Here are the basics for Node editing.  First, I would switch to View menu > Display Mode > Outline.  You can still perform the node editing in Outline view mode.  This allows you to visualize the paths easier, since they are represented as lines.  (Or you could stay in Normal view mode, add strokes to the drawing, and remove fills.  Outline mode is just quicker.)

-- select one node at each end of the arch (for this example)
-- click "Break path at selected nodes" button, on the Node tool contrl bar (if you're not in outline mode, at this point, everything will go black)
-- Path menu > Break Apart

Deselect everything.  The select one of the arch paths.  Then....arrghh, I can't stand it.  Then you could use Path menu > Simplify, on each arch path, one at a time.  Personally, I would use the original arches as a model, and draw new ones.  And I'd probably try to do it with 3 to 5 nodes.  But that's up to you, of course  :)

When the arches are finished, move them into place, in case they had been moved away.  You should position it so that the nodes on the end of the arches are right on top of the end nodes from the rest of the path.

-- select one arch path and the rest of the path, with the Node tool  (hold the Shift key for a multiple selection)
-- select the 2 nodes at one end of the arch, which are stacked on top of each other, by dragging a small selection box around them with the Node tool (otherwise, you can only select the one on top, right)
-- "Join selectes nodes" button on the Node tool control bar
-- repeat 3 more times

Don't forget the scale issue I told you about at the very beginning.  Hopefully you haven't switched files or units.  Because if you didn't start with both the units and scale, already set correctly, it won't come out the right size.  You can still scale it to the right size, but I don't know how.  I'd have to refer you to someone else. 

(That's a whole new feature of Inkscape, which in my opinion should be hidden from most users.  I consider myself to be fairly bright, intelligent, and capable of learning.  But I just can't comprehend this feature.  Either that, or so far, no one has been able to explain it.)
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Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2018, 05:28:03 PM »
Woohoo, I simplified the arches!! I think I'm there...just need the confirmation from Jerry that it loads in Mach3. I'll let you know.

Thanks again for all your guidance, Brynn.

Paul

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2018, 08:02:57 PM »
You're very welcome.

I just wanted to mention that I tried the centerline trace on the smaller version.  But it doesn't work like I thought it would -- at all!  I thought it would split the difference between the inside edge and the outside edge.  But that's not how it works, apparently!

Apparently it tries to find centerlines of the image.  It never knows what the results of Trace Bitmap would be.
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Offline pawl

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Re: Need help on jpg to dxf conversion (for Lazycam).
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2018, 10:04:51 PM »
I've made the vector files and saved as dxf files for the Mach3/Lazycam, but they (both the one from Inkscape and the one I saved via Ai) failed to load in the program. I posted a query to a Lazycam forum and got a reply saying "Lazycam requires a version 12 dxf drawing. The drawing you posted is a 3d drawing. The drawing is not appropriate for turning."

I'm not sure what the 3d refers to (a version?), since I don't recall any depth to the image. And I've not been able to find anything about a version 12 of dxf files. If there's anyone on the Inkscape board who might know where I should turn to figure this out, we're trying to burn these  steel plates tomorrow. (ugh!)