13 Sep

Inkscape and Plotters, the 3rd

WINDOWS users please note:
Under Windows the described installation method of Pyserial does not work at the moment due to an update of Pyserial.

Please download pyserial-2.7.tar.gz instead of the file described in Inkscape and follow the rest of the instructions as usual.

And the saga continues!!!

After my extension was officially bundled with Inkscape 0.91 i added a couple of new features which will be released with the upcoming release Inkscape 0.92. If you are impatient just download the newest “Developer Version”.

See two related posts here: Inkscape and Plotters, the 2nd and Your (Cutting) Plotter and Inkscape.

Added support for Pen Plotters with multiple colors

This is a neat feature for old pen plotters supporting multiple pens (Colors, thicknesses, etc.), so you can produce colorful drawings for… whatever. Honestly i don’t know why someone would use Pen Plotters today anyway, but since this feature was requested multiple times i added it. I had to refactor quite a lot of code to get this to work.

To use it you have to create a layer for each pen number (HPGl doesn’t support color or anything, just pen numbers corresponding to pen slots on the plotter), and name the layer something like “Pen 1” or “MyCoolLayerName Pen 1” or “Bla Pen 1 Bla”.
The number after “Pen” is the pen slot to use, and if you write something besides the pen information it has to be separated by a space character.
Now just put the portion of your drawing you want to use this pen with in the according layer and you are done.

Added support for a very small fraction of plotters (I think less than 1%) not working with standard serial settings (8bits, 1stopbit)

This may be confusing for newbees and i hope they read the help texts for these commands by hovering over the settings, but apparently there are some plotters (in 3 years i supported users with multiple problems i only encountered one!) that don’t use standard settings for “Byte size”, “Stop bits” and “Parity”, so i had to add these settings in the “Connection Settings” tab.


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

  • Add support for “window” type plotters (Like the NEON Plotter) that can only plot in Xcm wide parts: NEON Plotter
  • Add a option to plot a box around the drawing to make weeding easier.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Add option to set final point to move to above drawing instead of 0 point, to allow to cut of the piece of vinyl with the drawing instantly and plot again.

If you want more features or have problems leave me a comment below.

Have Fun!

74 thoughts on “Inkscape and Plotters, the 3rd

  1. I still use plotters and vinyl cutters. Almost no inkjet or laser printers do a good job for negatives. I finally got inkscape to work with my vinyl cutter after changing the pyserial driver version. The plotter support needs to support pen width and the ability to plot text without having to convert to a path. Also, they really need to make the DXF import work. I have an assortment of applications. Some only export DXF and I have to run those through Corel because nothing else seems to reliably import DXF. Then export out of Corel into some format that Inkscape actually reads.

    Windows worked with plotters 20 years ago with no problem at no additional cost. Now it’s a big pain. Half the applications can’t actually import DXF although they claim they can. USB-to-serial doesn’t work because it’s polled and not status-driven. Older hardware drops bytes. I have to keep older slow machines running which have real serial ports onboard. Same deal if you need Mach3 or other DIY CNC hardware. All together, a step backwards.

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