Using Inkscape to design for laser cutting
Inkscape is powerful graphics program that is completely free and suited to creating files for laser cutting. You can use it to create files in a format that laser cutters understand known as ‘vector’ graphics. This type of file is made up of straight lines, curves, and nodes that join them together. Laser cutters use this information to tell the cutting beam where to go.
In contrast files such as jpeg (regular pictures) and bmp (bitmaps) are composed of pixels of different colours which we see as images but they don’t provide the laser cutter with information about where the beam should go, although they can be used for producing engravings.
This is a basic guide to setting up Inkscape so you can produce good quality images that can be used to turn your ideas into reality.There are many good Inkscape resources out there which you can call on when you go beyond the basics, just google what you want to do and chances are that someone will have the answer.
After installing and starting Inkscape this is the basic window, mousing over things gives tool tip pop-ups. Also watch the bar at the bottom of the window as it changes when you use different tools and will tell you if you need to press a key to do things. If you’ve used other graphics packages then many things are familiar.