I need some help with Inkscape

I have an object i’d like to make. It combines some flat and curved surfaces. I’ve read the faq and online documentation but something just isn’t working. I thought that the boolean operations under paths was the right ticket but nothing happens.

I have some square shapes, and i have some circles, and it would be super spiffy to have the circle line, where it intersects the straight line, to be cut and removeable, while keeping it a vector.

For example here’s what I’m working with.

And i want these spots to go away like this (but keep it vector)

Can anyone help me make this happen?

The images are really hard to see.

If you are in Windows, use the “Prnt Scrn” button on your keyboard to capture your window, and then you can paste it into these messages using “Ctrl-V”. You can also use the Snipping Tool to capture parts of the screen and copy and paste them here (Click “Start” and type “Snipping” to find it).

Without seeing better pictures, it’s hard to tell exactly what you want.

I’ve used the “Boolean” operations successfully before, but it took a bit of fiddling to figure it out. You have to make sure that you convert your objects to paths before they work. If you drew rectangles and circles using the “rectangle” or “circle” tool, it creates objects. The Boolean operations only work on paths. In the “Path” menu, the first option is “Object to Path”. Do that on all your shapes. Then you should be able to add and subtract them.

I also find it is easier to see what is happening if you apply some fill to your objects. You can remove the fill later.

And the order in which you pick the objects is also important.

I hope that helps. If not, post a couple of pictures, and let me know what steps you tried. I’ll try and help some more.

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I somehow only have the forum login saved to my phone, so those shots were of my camera.

I was using drawn lines and circles. Does it have to be squares and circles?

I just tried it with lines and circles, and it works fine, AS long as your path make a circuit that is closed. If they do not, you can join some of the nodes to each other to make the closed circuit.

To know if your lines make a closed circuit, you can click on the lines, and then pick a “fill” color at the bottom. If the object fills, then it is a closed circuit.

Once you have your lines and circles, you still need to convert them to paths before using Boolean operations on them.

I have made a quick little video using lines and circles to show how it works. But I can’t upload it here. I’m not sure what’s the best way to share it with you.

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I found a way to convert the video to a GIF. Hopefully I can upload it.


Thankyou, that is helpful. I never filled first. Going to try that now

You don’t need to use the fill. I just find it makes it easier to visualize what’s going to happen when you apply the Boolean operations.

I still couldn’t get it to work just right, but i found another solution that you started me on. Manipulating the layers and deleting the offset/inset circles when done, i used the infill bucket that created a new object within each set of lines i wanted cut out. On those objects, they kept to the curve and i set them with a line style.

I’m glad you figured out something that works for you. I found that Inkscape is pretty powerful, but sometimes you need to fiddle with it for a while to understand how something actually works.

actually, it didn’t work. I tried to export to dxf and it got all janked up.

The lines intersect the wall like pieces im trying to preserve.

Ive figured out your way specifically, i think the problem before was that my lines and squares were more than one object, so bolean cant handle 3+ at a time, i should have figured it.

I slowed down and went step by step and for instance, just got the outside corner walls, but the dxf output from inkscape still shows it all janked.

So i guess now, how do i get inkscape to port the dxf better, or what else can i get that’s free that i could input the svg and get the dxf out? Could someone have a program that can convert those curves better, and convert for me if a pay for program is the only way to go?

After thought, i might just have to wait for glowforge that can read the svg files instead of dxf to make this object… but was really hoping i could get a suitable dxf by tomorrow morning. :disappointed_relieved:

You might be trying to do too much at the same time. You should try to do simpler operations first, and then build up to your whole sketch.

Here are a few quick videos on how I would do what I think you are trying to do. They might put you on the right path.

In this first video, I make an object with lines.

The second video, I duplicate the object. Then I use the inset tool to make it smaller. Just so you know, in the video I use the “Path->Inset” shortcut a few times (Ctrl + “(”). It does not show in the video when I use the keyboard.
Then I subtract the smaller object from the bigger one.

In the third video, I do the same thing to create a circle.

In the last video, I then move the circle over the first object and “Boolean Add” them together.

I also just tried to save what I created as a DXF, and I opened it in Fusion 360. It looks like it saved fine.

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That picture makes it a little clearer what you are trying to do.

Here are a few more small videos on how I would accomplish that with InkScape.

In the third video, I’m using the inset tool keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + “(”).

Note that I’m not aligning my shapes very well in these videos (I wanted to keep them short). But you can use the align tool to make sure your circles and squares are lined up properly.

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Sorry about making multiple small videos, but I tried it with one large video, and I could not uploaded it to the site.


No, no, the vids are super helpful. It might be too much at once,and i wonder also if it might be Solidworks’ eDrawings viewer that is interpreting it incorrectly. Is fusion 360 free?

When using inset/offset in inkscape, is there a way to specify the distance value? Im trying to keep the 4 corners and the 2 inside “c” shapes to be 1/8th inch between inside and outside… i need to make this with some precision, so the inside spins freely from the outside. Or even if it could snap to guide.

While it may be a little busy, i have gotten it to look as an svg exactly like it should twice, and the dxf export is just jank

In the preferences, you can set the default Inset/Outset in inches (or other dimensions). It is under Behavior -> Steps.

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Fusion 360 is free for makers and small business that make less then a certain amount. I cant remember what that cut off point is but i want to say it’s 50k or 100k.

Free for makers and small-business making less than 100k/year. And one of the guys working on it is a glowforger, who has been very helpful already. see here : Fusion 360 for Beginners webinar

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@polarbrainfreeze, you made my day. Thanks for this awesome collaboration and tutorial. So helpful in so many ways!

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