Help transfering patterns

Hmm, ok so this file has a few challenges.

So the first thing you would do is get your pdf and import it into inkscape. You just drag it to the inkscape window and choose which page you’re importing. Of course, you have to do it a few times to get your whole design in there, but let’s just start with one page.

Import that, it thinks for a minute (first warning sign, the longer this takes the more complicated the file is). Great, here we go:

The trick here is that you’re looking at a big group of items. in order to get at the individual pieces of the design, you have to either enter the group or ungroup the items. I am going to ungroup (control-shift-g) because we’re just doing rough surgery. Groups can be inside groups, the key is to look at the bottom of the screen when you have an item selected. It’ll say something like “one group of 45 items selected”. When you ungroup it, it’ll say something like “45 items of type X selected”, what we want is to dig down until we get to paths or images so we can work on them.

it was pretty easy to ungroup then select the water marks and remove them:

The tough parts come now. Those lenses are so weird, they aren’t one filled circle, they are a ton of weird sliver shapes. When I say a ton, I mean it, it was over a thousand parts. So odd. Luckily there’s a trick for that, an item called “select same”. I was able to right click on one of the black slivers and “select same fill and stroke”, which then selected all of them… and hit delete.

Oh heck yes, looks so good! but… is it? I dug deep and zoomed in on those stich holes. Turned out they were collections of grouped tiny line segments. That’s not good. Ideally they’d be little ovals, but they are actually segments. OK, that may not be a problem, let’s look.

Zooming in, I see a host of problems. Lots of the ovals are misaligned. Take a close look at the ovals circled in red.

Now this is where vector files differ from what you’re used to. Lines in vector programs are just “described”, they aren’t actually drawn. So this file basically contains instructions for how to draw the line, not the actual drawn line itself. That means we can change the appearance of the lines. What I want to do is make the lines super thin and make sure they “end” abruptly, without rounded end caps.

We go from this, where the line is 0.01" thick and has rounded end caps (look on the style dialog on the right):

to this, where the lines are 0.001" thick and have a square end cap:

Then I unselect everything to make it a bit more clear:

And now you see the problem. The laser’s going to try to cut that shape, which isn’t a clean oval. It’s pretty unlikely that the hole will cut out all the way, and if it does, it’ll be really wonky.

You can repair this manually, but each stitch hole will be a new adventure to see if it’s correct and then manually editing the paths to line them up if they aren’t. It’s not hard, but it would be a major time sink and boring as heck. One hole like this takes seconds, but you know how many holes there are.

So, what now? It’s not too much fun to fix this stuff manually. There are ways to use pattern on path to add stitch holes, but that’s a bit of a level 2 skillset thing. If you want to see a tip on how to do this from the de facto leather champ on the forum:

I don’t know what to advise here. If it were me, I would probably abandon this design and go looking for a better plague mask that was maybe designed to be laser cut. Most likely the paths in that would be cleaner and optimized for lasering.

Anyway. If you do intend to go down the self-repair path, then once you get all your stitch holes adjusted and any other path issues in the file are also addressed, you’d want to take all your pieces and align them carefully to fit in your material and set the outer shapes to cut after the inner shapes via colors.

If you want more reading on path editing (key skill for this sort of work), check out:

So yeah, nothing too complex here, but it does require a little experience. Maybe shelve this project for now and come back once you’ve got your legs under you? There’s no shame in that, I know I sure did that when I was learning inkscape.

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