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Inkscape lasergcode Extension

  • Version 1.0

This extension creates Gcode suitable for laser engravers (like the Eleksmaker range) from Inkscape documents.

It is much, much, MUCH easier to use than GcodeTools, and includes feed rate, repeat and X- and Y-axis reversal options.

Because Inkscape supports MacOS and linux as well as Windows, it provides a good solution for driving these laser engravers from all operating systems.

Liability

By installing and using the lasergcode extension, you accept all responsibility for any damage or harm that may occur, and exclude the author(s) of this software from liability for any damages whatsoever.

Requirements

Installing the lasergcode Extension

  1. Copy lasergcode.py and lasergcode.inx into the extensions directory:
    • For Windows C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions\
    • For Mac ~/.config/inkscape/extensions/
    • For Linux /usr/share/inkscape/extensions
  2. (Re)start Inkscape.
  3. Choose File/Save a Copy... and confirm the file type dropdown contains Laser gcode file (*.gcode).

Using lasergcode

It is important to understand three things:

  1. Only path objects are rendered to gcode. Everything else (text, boxes, shapes etc.) is ignored. Luckily Inkscape has a very easy way to convert these other objects to paths (Path/Object to Path).
  2. The laser intensity is controlled by the alpha channel of the stroke colour. The intensity_chart.svg and intensity_chart.gcode files demonstrate this, and the gcode file is useful as an initial test to choose what intensity you need for a new material.
  3. Path segments outside the document dimensions are ignored. So setting the Inkscape document width and height to be equal or less than the movement limits of your laser engraver means you will never drive the laser head into the frame, which could damage the servo motors and driver circuits and burn one point for a long time.

OK, let's make a gcode file:

  • Create a new Inkscape document.
  • Set the document properties File/Document Properties:
    • Custom size width: How far your laser can travel sideways.
    • Custom size height: How far your laser printer can travel up and down.
  • Draw something.
  • Convert all objects in your document to paths, by selecting them and choosing Path/Object to Path.
  • Set intensity by:
    • Selecting object(s).
    • Open the Fill and Stroke control (Shift+Ctrl+F).
    • Choose the Stroke paint tab.
    • Set the alpha (A) channel between 0 (no power) and 255 (full power).
  • Choose File/Save a Copy..., select Laser gcode file (*.gcode) and click Save.
  • Set the burn speed and repeat number, and click OK.
  • PUT ON YOUR PROTECTIVE GLASSES!
  • Use something like Universal Gcode Sender to send the gcode file to your laser engraver.

Problems?

If lasergcode does not do what you expect, first check the three points at the start of the Using lasergcode section.

If this doesn't help, go to the lasergcode issue tracker and create an issue. You will get much better help if you include:

  • A detailed explanation of the problem.
  • A detailed explanation of how to re-create the problem.
  • The SVG file.

If you know any Python, you can hack the lasergcode.py file to try and fix the problem. Just restart Inkscape each time you make a change.