Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

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Kevin Z
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Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by Kevin Z »

Hello, all, I just joined because I got access to a CNC plasma torch cutting table from Lincoln Electric at a makerspace. It runs Torchmate CAD/CAM. I'd like to design object in Inkscape and export them as .dxf files. Torchmate is supposed to import these files, but because the makerspace only has one copy of Torchmate, located at the makerspace, I can't conveniently work with it from home.

Can anyone suggest a Linux FOSS CAM program that can import the Inkscape .dxf files and output gcode that the Torchmate VMD program can load to control the torch? I tried searching the forum with "Linux" and "CAM" but too many hits came back that didn't seem related to my question. I guess the software need to be able to do lead-ins/lead-outs and allow for the torch kerf and other operations unique to a plasma cutting torch.

Thanks for any advice or guidance.

-Kevin
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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by tnbndr »

You should be able to just take your .dxf file saved from your CAD program to the Makerspace and in Torchmate import the .dxf file and have Torchmate create the G code to cut.
You may have to save your .dxf file in several formats to see which one Torchmate will import. Usually save the .dxf in the earliest version available.
I don't have Torchmate but did use it once.
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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by adbuch »

As Dennis has said - you can simply save your Inkscape drawing in dxf R12 format and then import to TMCad to create your cut paths. Here is an example.

David
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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by Kevin Z »

Dennis and @adbuch, thanks for your replies. I'm aware of the .dxf import abilities of Torchmate. It's what I'm currently using and the reason I'm dissatisfied. Currently, importing an Inkscape .dxf file requires several hours of editing on the single copy of the Torchmate software that I have access to. Some of the things I have to correct include:

* shapes drawn with Bezier curves import as disjointed line segments, and have to have each separate line found and manually joined.

* shapes drawn with Bezier curves sometimes import as 1/10 to 1/100 the size they were designed at.

* text shapes, after converting Stroke to Path, sometimes come in as duplicated lines on some letters. At other times, some letters, even within the same text string, come in filled, and others not.

Problems like these require me to spend several hours, perched on an uncomfortable shop stool, working on a workstation at an awkward angle, in a noisy machine shop to correct the drawing. I'd like to avoid this pain.

If I want to use Torchmate in the future, I have to do one of these things:

1. Find the settings in Inkscape that would allow me to import my file into Torchmate with the least, or no, corrections needed.

or, 2. Find a program that runs under Linux that would accurately interpret the Inkscape .dxf file the way that Torchmate does, so I could find and correct my errors at home.

Thanks for any advice or guidance on either of the two solutions above. If nothing comes to mind, a solution that would let me skip the Torchmate program and go straight to the Torchmate Visual Machine Designer (VMD) software (which I think I'm obligated to use, as it controls the Lincoln Electric table and torch and I'm not allowed to load any software onto this workstation).

Thanks again.

-Kevin
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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by Kevin Z »

Here is an example of the file I'm trying to import into Torchmate, as the original Inkscape .svg file, and as the 'Save As...' Autocad R12 .dxf file. Thanks, @adbuch, for metioning the R12 export; I was using R14 and that may be part of the problem.

-Kevin

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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by acourtjester »

here is a linux version of Inkscape, Inkscape can export DFX but does not seem to like importing it. Not sure if it will help but you can test Lightburn for 30 days, It may be easier to use, it does import and export DXF file format.
https://www.linuxfordevices.com/tutoria ... p-inkscape
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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by adbuch »

Kevin Z wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 12:01 pm Here is an example of the file I'm trying to import into Torchmate, as the original Inkscape .svg file, and as the 'Save As...' Autocad R12 .dxf file. Thanks, @adbuch, for metioning the R12 export; I was using R14 and that may be part of the problem.

-Kevin

Kevin - what are the specific problems you are having with this file when you import the dxf to TMCad for cutting? Other than a few problems with your original drawing, I see no problems importing this to TMCad for creating cut paths and cutting.

For text - use Object to Path, not Stroke to Path as Stroke to Path will give you a double cut path. I expect that most of your problems may be related to your Inkscape drawing creation - meaning not a particular problem with Inkscape, but perhaps the process you are using with your file creation. Perhaps show us a sample of something you would like to create/edit using Inkscape and maybe we can give you a few pointers to help to improve your overall work flow and outcome.

By the way, you can purchase the basic version of TMCad for around $300. But you may need to have a Windows pc as I'm not sure that TMCad is available for linux. Or perhaps install a copy of Windows onto your linux pc and have a dual operating system setup.

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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by adbuch »

I you do decide to stick with the DXF R14 format for export from Inkscape, here is a quick method to edit once imported to TMCad to convert to all closed paths. Most of this can be avoided by simply saving from Inkscape in DXF R12 format.

David
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Last edited by adbuch on Wed May 15, 2024 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by adbuch »

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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by adbuch »

Kevin - you can download TMCad student version for free. It does everything the regular version does - except it will only save as .edu. But for testing your files from Inkscape, this will work fine. You can save your Inksacape file as dxf, then import to TMCad to edit. Once you have practiced editing, you should find that you will only need to spend several minutes at the shop stool editing to prepare for cutting. If you don't already have a Windows pc, I would strongly suggest that you get one (or install Windows onto your existing pc). Used Windows computers are cheap.

David

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Re: Newbie: Going from .dxf to gcode in Linux?

Post by adbuch »

Kevin - if you are just starting out with Inkcscape - there are some great tutorials and other information in the Inkscape section of this forum. I would also highly recommend the Logos by Nick Inkscape Master Class. The cost is only $17 and well worth the minimal cost.
David

https://academy.logosbynick.com/p/inkscape-master-class
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