AutoCAD->Inkscape->GF workflow question

First, maybe the better question is, are there any command line (OSX or open source) DXF/DWG to SVG converters that work well? I use Inkscape now because it works and because I do often use it to add engrave items to something I drew in AutoCAD. But I often find myself doing a lot of this:

Draw in AutoCAD, save, import into Inkscape, save to SVG, Cut, find problem with cut, make AutoCAD change, repeat.

It’s not until I get the cut worked out that I then actually use Inkscape to do any changes other than my SVG conversion, if at all. I know Inkscape has SOME capability at the command line, but can’t find anything that says it can do this. One thing I know I’d need to do is be able to set the scale factor on the command line since I sometimes draw in mm and sometimes in inches, and in my ideal world I’d like to set a position on the page since all AutoCAD imports seem to be way off the page by default and if you don’t move them in Inkscape then the GF also imports way off the bed.

I’m using OSX and am quite familiar with doing command line things, I’d just need to know the arguments that Inkscape needs, or to know if there’s another command line converter out there. Searching seems to find several web based ones and such, but that’s no easier than opening in the Inkscape GUI to me.

Basically I’m looking to vastly simplify my life of going from AutoCAD to GF when I don’t need any additional edits, just conversion. Help?


I think you will find most of what you want in shortcut keys which are typed but not necessarily in the command line. You can program anything you want of course, but it is in Python and not Lisp. I was super hot in Lisp but never got far in Python, but Lisp was like a native language and Python a foreign language, so while not so different hard to make that jump.

I use cloud convert. Not practical for everyday conversion sadly but I rarely have dxf or eps that needs changing, it works well enough for occasional conversions.

Should be able to export or print a PDF file from AutoCAD with the proper scaling embedded, then skip the Inkscape step altogether since the GF app can read PDF files without issue.


Cloud convert doesn’t help the workflow any that I can see over Inkscape. And while printing to PDF didn’t occur to me, it actually doesn’t work because I’m using the educational version of AutoCAD (I do some college mentoring) and it watermarks the PDF output. :frowning: You can remove the watermark I’m pretty sure, but that’s yet another set of steps that also doesn’t help the workflow.

I use QCAD to clean DXF/DWG and svg’s files and make them production ready the pro version has an Quick SVG Export that works perfect for Glowforge . The pro version is not free tho it will coast you 33 euro’s.

Oh yeah, now we’re talking. I’ll try this tomorrow…it has command line tools and they include units and scale factors. Should do exactly what I want. Thanks!

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Like you I do all the drawing in autocad or inventor. The downside is that it doesn’t work like Autocad but I actually prefer QCAD to make my file glowforce ready now I work with it for awhile.

You only need to look out for: if you change your drawing to polylines that you don’t select circles they give sometimes unexpected results in the GFUI .

They got also QCAD CAM if I little bit more expensive but it has a nice nesting option and you can convert NC files directly so I am thinking about switching to the CAM version.

I am also having a problems with scaling issues going from drawing in AutoCAD( which I an comfortable with) to PDF or converting it later to.svg. whichever file I place into the glowforge app does not come up with the proper scaling. When you say that you’re using qcad to clean up the AutoCAD file,what do you mean by that? Can you simply drag in your DWG file from AutoCAD and place it into qcad,save it in qcad as a svg and then it will be ready for glowforge?

You should not have scaling issues in AutoCAD or any Cad programs they are made to get the right measurements in. Just make sure you work in the right scale and 1 inch will be 1 inch. I personally don’t work with PDF so I don’t know much about conversions to PDF. But you should not have a problem with that it must be a setting somewhere.

QCad does support dwg,dxf and svg so you won’t have a problem getting your AutoCAD file into Qcad.

I don’t draw in Qcad but I still use Qcad to clean up my files because I actually find it easier to do in Qcad. What I do to make an production file is convert the whole drawing in polylines. It has the effect that the Glowforce will finish a shape before it starts another shape. I found it very annoying that the Glowforce can start a line move to a other part of the drawing and do a piece of a line there to come back to finish the first line. You won’t have that effect with polylines so you laser time becomes faster.

I also like to have options how I cut, score or engrave and when I do that in the process. I use layers and colours for that. For example if I have a square with a hole in it I want the Glowforce first do the hole and then the square. It’s more accurate.

The paid version of Qcad (40 euros) has an “Quick SVG Export” and it will give you an perfect SVG file to use with your with your Glowforge. The only problem I every had with it are with parts or circles if you convert those to polylines you can have a strange effects sometimes. The work around is do not convert the circle part to polyline.