Software Searce

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oldrayj
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Software Searce

Post by oldrayj » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:47 pm

I am trying to find a software package wherein I can import an Illustrator file (DXF, SVG, or PDF) and then manipulate it into 2.5D STL file with Z-axis contours. I have tried Blender to no avail. If such a package exists (reasonable cost), I would appreciate your recommendations.

WillAdams
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Re: Software Searce

Post by WillAdams » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:06 am

Freemill, pycam and heekscnc ought to be able to do that --- makercam as well.

I'm still fiddling w/ hand-coding since my 800MHz Pentium III doesn't do 3D well.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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glendresser
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Re: Software Searce

Post by glendresser » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:09 am

Definitely it's possible in Blender, although the learning curve for Blender is pretty steep. If I understand you correctly, i've gotten a result like what you're after by using the following steps:

import your svg
convert it to a mesh
use subsurface mesh to create a smoother mesh
extrude it a little ways
use a tool like the sculpt tools, but lock the x and y axis so transformations occur only on the z axis
apply any modifiers like subsurface mesh
export as stl and then open in your cam program (cambam in my case)

This is basically off the top of my head, but I've been using it to draw shapes out in illustrator and then apply landscape-like contours to them in blender, that I can print out on my shapeoko.
Last edited by glendresser on Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

oldrayj
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Re: Software Search

Post by oldrayj » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:09 am

Thanks for the inputs. I couldn't get the Mac version of Blender to import SVGs. Sorry for the miss-spelled word.

glendresser
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Re: Software Searce

Post by glendresser » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:16 am

I'd be happy to offer some suggestions if you provide a little more detail about how it's not opening. Are you getting an error message? Does it appear to open but then you see no objects in your view? If it's the latter, it's possible that you've imported an object, but it's microscopically small. If you think this might be the case, make sure you're view window is top, and then select view all. If there's anything at all in your file, you should see it at this point, no matter how small it is.

oldrayj
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Re: Software Searce

Post by oldrayj » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:16 pm

You are correct. My object is only 90 mm long and was not readily visible. So, I’m going to make the original larger to import into Blender and then scale it after I’ve finished working on it. Thanks much.

glendresser
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Re: Software Searce

Post by glendresser » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:46 pm

EDIT: I should mention first of all that your approach: just resizing in illustrator and then resizing it after you're done working with it should work fine, and I've used that method at times as well. Definitely use that method if it works for you.

However, if you want to keep working with a correctly-sized object throughout your workflow, it is possible, but a bit complicated: (This is all using millimeters. You could, in theory, do the same with imperial units although I haven't tried it.)

1. In illustrator, check the units of your drawing area. Typically for a small object my artboard is 100mm * 100mm.
2. Draw a box that exactly fits your artboard.
3. Save your SVG as you normally would.
4. Open up the SVG in a text editor.
5. You'll see a line like this:

Code: Select all

<svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px"
	 width="283.46px" height="283.46px" viewBox="0 0 283.46 283.46" enable-background="new 0 0 283.46 283.46" xml:space="preserve">
Change this to replace the width and height measurements with the dimensions of your artboard:

Code: Select all

<svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px"
	 width="100mm" height="100mm" viewBox="0 0 283.46 283.46" enable-background="new 0 0 283.46 283.46" xml:space="preserve">
6. In Blender, set up your document for mm. There's a good explanation of this here: http://www.katsbits.com/tutorials/blend ... -units.php, and once you do it you can set it up as your default.
7. Import your svg in Blender. You should see that the outer box you made exactly matches up with the metric grid.

I think what's happening here is that illustrator and blender have very different opinions of what a pixel is equal to. In Illustrator, it's about a quarter of a mm, while in Blender it's incredibly small. So we need to convert our SVG to a unit that they both treat the same.

oldrayj
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Re: Software Searce

Post by oldrayj » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:02 pm

This is a great solution. I thought about using a bounding box as an editing guide, but this is by far a more complete solution. Thanks again.

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