Data Paths

This page discusses current and prospective data paths for generating and fabricating tiles.


The TechShop laser engravers are connected to PCs that have a variety of installed software. Using a package such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Inkscape, one can "print" images to the engraver. In an effort to streamline the process, I've been considering a range of data paths, e.g.:


  • solid line - full capability
  • dashed line - some capability
  • dotted line - strong possibility

Current Status

I am currently generating floor plans in SketchUp, exporting combinations of layers as PDF files, then using Adobe Illustrator to combine, edit, and print the result.

Although this approach produces a clean result, finessing program differences (e.g., layers, lines, faces, strokes) wastes quite a bit of my time and effort. And, because I can only use Illustrator at TechShop, I'm unable to do that part of the process at home.

Target Status

By doing the last stages of my content development on Inkscape, I should be able to minimize the need for intermediate PDF files. I also like the fact that Inkscape is open source software that should play nicely with QGIS, etc.

Inkscape is available on the TechShop PCs that operate laser engravers. I have installed it on my desktop and have started experimenting with it. Unless I encounter a show-stopper, I expect to adopt Inkscape as a replacement for Illustrator (and some SketchUp) functionality.

Export Options

Although SketchUp can import a variety of formats, SketchUp Make can only export one vector format (PDF). (There is a possibility of exporting SVG files, but it's not clear that this will be necessary.)

SketchUp to PDF

SketchUp Pro has the built-in capability to export to PDF. Although SketchUp Make does not support this feature, it is possible to "print" to a PDF file. See the Export PDF page for details.

SketchUp to SVG

sketchup-svg-outline-plugin claims to export faces from SketchUp models as Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files. However, getting the plugin to function has been challenging. See the Export SVG page for details.

This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r9 - 11 Dec 2015, RichMorin
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