Inkscape - Adjusting for Kerf in your Design

Adjusting for Kerf in Inkscape2.pdf (751.3 KB)


Thank you Jules!

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Great material. However, is there some reason you didn’t just use the Inset and Outset commands (“Ctrl+(” and “Ctrl+)”, or the Path menu)? You could adjust the inset/outset step size in the Preferences dialog (Behavior/Steps) to match the kerf. It seems like that would be much easier than doing Stroke to Path and manually deleting one side.

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Inset and outset AFAIK does not exactly reproduce proportionally the outline. It simplifies the curves. At least I haven’t been able to make outset do something as exact as the stroke width method.

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Yeah, I just noticed that. It doesn’t seem to offset by the amount in the preferences either–the stroke is much thinner. Perhaps it will be fixed someday. For now, your way works much better.

By the way, welcome to the forum. So many cool things here. Just about everything that you might think of regarding the Glowforge, lasers, designs and materials, including manufacturing, specifications, and whatever else has been treated in multiple topics. Want a discussion on compensation on the kerf, I believe there is one topic that went over 200 replies!


Jules, you said: “Frankly, I wouldn’t use Inkscape for kerf adjustment on complex designs. It truly borders on the ridiculous.”

Is there an alternative, free option that would be simpler?

Freeware 2D software? No, unfortunately. :neutral_face:

Fusion 360 with the DXF plugin works very well, but it’s 3D software.

Thank you Jules for the excellent tutorials!

For those interested, Fusion 360 is on sale from January 23 to January 25 (next week) for $99 a year. It’s usually $300. (No, I don’t work for Autodesk.)

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For personal or small commercial (<$100K/yr sales) it’s free :slight_smile:


Do you have a link? I’d appreciate it!

Here is how to do it from their support pages:


You just need to re-do it once a year to maintain its free status I believe.


Jules thanks for the excellent tutorial. I have several suggestions/comments that may improve upon the work flow/process.

  1. When converting a text object to a path inkscape actually creates a path for each letter and then groups them automatically. If you ungroup (Ctrl + Shift + G) the text and then union (Ctrl + Shift + =) all of the individual paths into one multi-shape path you won’t have to use path edit tool to perform the operations described in your tutorial.

  2. Rather than using stroke to path(Ctrl + Alt + C) followed by break apart(Ctrl + Shift + K) to create the offset paths, use duplicate(Ctrl + D) followed by stroke to path(Ctrl + Alt + C) and then union(Ctrl + Shift + =) or difference(Ctrl + -) to subtract or add the kerf width created by stroke to path(Ctrl + Alt + C) to the original shape. This should work for the majority of use cases. You will only have to use break apart(Ctrl + Shift + K) if a single object requires both a positive kerf offset and a negative kerf offset.


Great suggestions Mike. :grinning:

(And I encourage folks who actually use Inkscape to add to the tutorials here in the comments, or write their own if they like. These are all extremely beginner level tutorials that attempt to teach the logic behind what we’re doing, for those who haven’t ever seen it before.)

Instead of removing a line like in the PDF, Could you just color the line a different color so you can have your inside cut out and out side negative in the same file and just tell the glowforge witch one to cut and witch to ignore? I am very new, so not sure if i’m missing something and need to make both versions or not.

You can, but the lines are literally a hair’s width apart. You will never be able to pick which one is which by looking at the thumbnails. (You can do it if you understand the color ordering relationship, but you’re a heck of a lot better off just deleting one.)

Hey, just wanted to say thank you Jules for the kerf adjustment guide! Worked very well the first time through for some inlaid parts I was working on.


Fantastic! (That kind of thing makes my day!) :slightly_smiling_face:

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