From ZB45 wiki

Using Inkscape plugin Export-Plot

Inkscape is probably the most likely candidate to replace Windows 2D vector graphics programs like Illustrator, EasySign and CorelDraw in an Open Source environment.

Inkscape has in the last edition a standard Extension called Export - Plot. With this extension you can directly operate a vinyl cutter.

See this link for futher instructions and the right settings to use the vinyl cutter at ZB45 Makerspace: Settings extension Export-Plot

USB device setup

The CalorTrans CT-60 comes with EasySign for Windows. But my goal is to use the cutter directly from Linux! I want the whole Fab process to be Open Source! First good point: the CT-60 supports HP-GL. At least that's what the specs say. A short test, found here, confirms this:

   # stty 38400 cs8 -parenb -parodd crtscts -ixon -ixoff -F /dev/ttyUSB0
   # echo "IN;PU0,0;PD2000,0;PD2000,2000;PD0,2000;PD0,0;PU;:" > /dev/ttyUSB0

The first line initializes the USB Serial connection to the cutter (note that i'm running on 38400 baud, not 9600 which still seems to be the de-facto cutter standard). Between the quotes in line 2 is a simple (approx. 2 inch) block, which comes out of the vinyl cutter without problems.

The Calortrans Serial device was only accessible to root. To change that, you need to make a file called /etc/udev/rules.d/70-calortrans.rules containing:

ATTRS{idVendor}=="0403", ATTRS{idProduct}=="6001", MODE="0660", GROUP="plugdev"

Then run "udevadm control --reload-rules" to restart the serial port. Unplug, replug and now it should be accessible!

Make sure your user is a member of the group plugdev. If not, choose another group in the line above or add your user to that group. You need to log out and log in again before group-changes are in effect! Inkscape


Note: before printing, you need to change all objects to paths and ungroup all items.

InkScape also has a "save to hpgl" option built-in from version 0.47 onwards. This extension will not complain about objects, it will just not print them! So I think the InkCut extension is preferable.

If InkCut cannot find your plotter, first doublecheck that you installed the plotter correctly. Check settings above and check the permissions of /dev/ttyUSB0 when the plotter is plugged in.

ls -l /dev/ttyUSB0

should give something like:

crw-rw---- 1 root plugdev 166, 0 Nov 3 14:45 /dev/ttyUSB0

note the rw for groups and plugdev as the current group.

If you really don't get it to work, inkcut also has a "print to file option" which will create a file called inkcut.hpgl in your home directory. You can print that with:

cat inkcut.hpgl > /dev/ttyUSB0

Some more links on HP-GL support in InkScape:

   Save as HP-GL questions
   Making a text outline
   Inkscape wiki: print to cutting plotters or create files for them

Other Linux software

   The sK1 project looks promising, too! It's probably the closest tool to InkScape...
   RibbonSoft's QCAD has an extension called CAM Expert but it's not open source & not free: it costs 149,00 euro!  QCad community edition and their free format converter do not do HP-GL.
   Check the P2P foundation's list of Open Source CAD applications!

Tool to strip strange & confusing things out of HP-GL files:

Install as serial printer

On CUPS, install printer as:

  • Device URI: serial:/dev/ttyUSB0?baud=38400+bits=8+parity=none+flow=none
  • Make and Model: Local Raw Printer (Generic -> Raw)

Now, select Printer-> Calortrans in InkCut Device Properties