After my last post about integrating plotter functionality into Inkscape quite a lot of time has passed, so here is an update:

  • Development is finished!
  • The plotter functionality was separated from the HPGL export, it is now an extension
  • The HPGL export still exists and has the same functionality as the extension
  • A HPGL import was added
  • The following command languages are now supported: HPGL, DMPL and KNK Zing (HPGL variant)
  • The interface has changed to a tabbed one, it is much more lucid now
  • New features: Flow control settings, debug information, precut functionality, pen force + speed settings
  • The "In-Program" documentation is much better, all texts are rewritten and new info texts were added

I wanted to wrap up things nicely, which i think is a success.

See for your self:

The new plotter menu item in the extensions menu

The new plotter menu item in the extensions menu

The connection settings tab

The connection settings tab

The plotter settings tab

The plotter settings tab

The plot features tab

The plot features tab

To use the extension just download Inkscape.

Ideas for new features / needed changes (Thanks for the suggestions added by users!):

  • Add support for a very small fraction of plotters (I think less than 1%) not working with standard serial settings (8bits, 1stopbit) - Done, will be available with Inkscape 0.92
  • Scale Overcut and Tool offset correction separate for each axis, atm it is done by a common scale factor. some thought has to be put into this.
  • Change the cutting order from smallest to biggest parts to avoid stripped off parts of small text characters. This could impact CPU performance.
  • Add support for multiple pens for old pen plotters on export (The import already can import multiple pens correctly). Since Inkscape has no support for setting such options to a path a "creative" solution has to be found. - Done, will be available with Inkscape 0.92
  • Maybe add text fields to enable the user to add commands at multiple places in the data stream without changing any code. Is this really useful? - After careful consideration this will not be done.
  • Preview functionality. The extension is prepared for it, but it needs support from the Inkscape side (C/C++) i cannot provide. Help from a C++ programmer would be greatly appreciated!
  • "Test"-plotting a document either via selecting pen 0 or by only using PU commands. Do people really need this? - This can be achieved by selecting pen 0 in the settings already.
  • Maybe add support for G-Code controlled DIY Plotters (GRBL controller). This may be out of scope of this extension. - Please use the existing Gcodetools extension for this. It would be out of scope of this extension anyway.
  • Make use of a measurement feature of Roland plotters to determine if the used workpiece is big enough for the plot before starting the plot. Since i don't have a Roland plotter i need someone to test my code.

Have fun and be productive!

P.s.: I am always eager to see that the extension is put to good use:

From Thomas Seifert:

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