Inkscape Laser Plug-In

Using the Inkscape Laser Tool Plug-In

In case you didn’t see the overview of the new laser G Code creating plug-in, you can get the overview here:

Download and Overview

This tutorial will go over how to create drawings and text in inkscape and then create the G Code file needed to run on your 3D printer or CNC machine.  We will cover a couple of common items that you can do in inkscape and then use with your laser.

Drawing Text for cutting/engraving
Drawing Objects for cutting/engraving
Drawing Multiple Objects for cutting/engraving
Importing Pictures or Images for cutting/engraving

Drawing Text

Engraving text into materials is a very common need for the laser upgrade.  Here is how to accomplish this.

Step 1:  Use the TEXT tool in inkscape to draw your text.  The bottom left corner is you 0,0 location of you machine.

1 Text Draw


Step 2: You need to convert the object into a path.   All items drawn in inkscape are a vector object.  You can convert them into a “path” that will actually “draw” the object.  The laser then takes this path to generate the G Code.

2 object to path

Step 3: Under “Extensions” click on “Generate G Code” and “J Tech Photonics Laser Tool.

3 Laser Engraver Pluggin


Step 4: Fill out the Laser Tool Dialog.  For more information on the specific items click here.

4 Laser properties 1


Step 5:  When finished filling out the form, click APPLY to start.

5 apply


Step 6:   The laser path will be outlined and the code will be generated in the location provided in the tool.

6 outline laser path


Here is an example of the G Code file produced.


7 G Code File

Drawing Other Objects

Similar to the text, you can draw anything you want with the other tools.  Just at the end when you want to convert it to G Code for the laser.  Here is an example of a swirl:


Drawing Multiple Objects

In order to draw multiple objects in the same toolpath, you must first group all of the objects and convert to path before generating.  Here is an example:

Step 1:  Draw your separate objects.

1 objects

Step 2:  Group your objects.

2 Group

Step 3:  Turn them all into a path.

3 path

Step 4:  Start the Laser Tool converter.

4 apply

Step 5:  Press Apply and run the converter.

5 laser path

Importing Black and White Pictures

A cool thing to engrave are black and white “high contrast” images that only have two colors.  Here are the steps to engrave them.

Step 1:  Import your image on “file -> Import”.  Note it is two colors.

1 import image


Step 2:  Trace the outline of the image to get the path for the laser.

2 Trace Outline


Step 3:  Using edge detection, update the image and press “OK” to apply the changes.

3 Outline


Step 4:  Delete the original layer underneath the new edge detected layer.

4 Delete

Step 5:  Select “object to path” to create laser path.

5 Path


Step 6:  Generate your laser G Code file by entering your parameters and pressing “Apply”.  The laser path will be outlined.

6 Generate

So there it is!  Now you are ready to start creating!

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12 Responses to Inkscape Laser Plug-In

  1. Amy June 15, 2015 at 5:26 am #

    This is great! Looks like you’ve been experimenting!

    Great software here!

  2. Mauricio ZA November 24, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    This is great, I got some good and nice burnings with nice finishes, but I´m getting son vertical lines, seems to be a problem with the g-code because those lines are made when the laser doesn’t turn off, its not a driver problem, do you have some mail or something similar to get help with this problem, I’m working with a 1w 445nm laser, for test.

    • jtechphotonicscom March 10, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      If you are getting vertical lines then there is a problem with the output file. In large imported images, sometimes the output file will miss a “space” between the Y coordinate and the Feedrate command. This will cause the G Code parser to ignore the line and assume you meant “0”, which sends the laser to the bottom of the engraving.

      To fix this: Open the file in a text editor (like notepad for example). Then, use the find and replace function. Let’s say you put the laser on feedrate as 500. Then, find all instances of “F500″ and replace it with ” F500″. Note the space before the “F”. Do this for the laser off feedrate as well. Save your file and it should fix the problem.

  3. remon January 4, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    please i need help during exporting gcode for laser cutting it goes very fast during cutting straight lines which maked me problems …
    so could you help me fixing that problem

    • jtechphotonicscom March 10, 2016 at 11:57 am #

      We have made a new version of the inkscape plugin that removes the G0 (rapid) commands and replaces them with G1 (coordinated motion with feedrate control). Rapid commands take a separate feedrate that is in your machine. Coordinated motion G1 commands will follow the feedrate from the G Code file. Download and use the new plugin. If you have files you want to change, then use a text editor and “find and replace” G0 to G1.

  4. ellisgl March 22, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    How do I get it to do the fill, instead of just the outline?

  5. Jager April 4, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    I have the new version, after replacing the G0 to G1, while moving the laser is always switched on independently and does not respond to the Laser Off command is inserted.
    If G0 return all works.

    • Jager April 4, 2016 at 2:18 am #

      There is still a problem, pointing out the command to turn off the M107 for example.
      The plugin creates GCode type M107 S0 but the program does not work out.
      If I open the file, I delete the command and retype the exact same keyboard after you save the file you are running.
      What could be the problem? The discrepancy between the code page?

  6. Cale April 24, 2016 at 9:45 am #

    I need a setting that will only laser ON Horizontal Lines and OFF on all other directions. Is there a way you could guide me to place that in the code? Thank you

  7. Bill May 19, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    I need to invert the Y axis. My text is coming out flipped horizontally like you would see in a mirror.

    • jtechphotonicscom June 13, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

      Hi Bill,

      The default home position for the inkscape plugin is the BOTTOM LEFT of the table. I think if you have your home position set on your CNC to the top right this might happen. Maybe?

  8. Cale July 13, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    So I built a horizontal laser code. Works pretty good. Here you go.

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