How to create drawings in Inkscape for Laser Cutting



You may use Inkscape or Illustrator, as long as it’s vector based and not bitmap E.g. use the pen tool or objects

How to prepare your document

  1. file -> Document Properties

    1. Page tab

      1. General:

        1. default units: change to inches

      2. Page size:

        1. Custom  size  L24”  x H18”

        2. Custom size unites: inches

    2. Guides tab

      1. Show guides

  2. Save and name a file with this format:  last name — date-object name

    1. E.g. shiloh-2014-01-23-box


  1. You must take time considerations into account while designing your project

  2. 1 hours laser cutting time per student per week  

  3. Example of a 6×6 inches box takes 1hr of cutting time

  4. Single vector or cutting lines take less time

  5. Raster and solid shapes take about twice as long

How to indicate cutting lines


A stroke with no fill will be a CUT. To make this easier to differentiate, make all strokes BLACK. The stroke point size does not matter.

A fill with no stroke will be a RASTER. Make the fill any color other than black.



  1. Write your text

  2. Select the text

  3. Object -> “Fill and stroke” to make that menu visible

    1. Fill tab: X to turn off fill

    2. Stroke paint tab: Select solid

    3. Stroke style tab: Change width to 1 pt

(In illustrator – Creating Outlines will convert text to a vector form and it keep as a shape.  

If you don’t Create Outlines of your font it will  default to another font and you will loose your chosen font and size.)


Creating Shapes


Use objects shapes or pen tool to draw or illustrate


Complex shapes can also be made by joining multiple objects:


  1. Select objects (shift-click to select multiple objects)

  2. Path -> Union

Experiment with difference and intersection or the others


Guides and Grid


Turn guides and grid on:


  1. Click on View -> guides

  2. Click on View -> grid


To use the align tool:


  1. Click and hold in the ruler, either horizontal or vertical

  2. Drag down to your object; you will see a red or blue line. Place this guide line right where you want to line up your objects.

  3. Move the objects to line up with the guide line.


Another way to do this is selecting objects and then aligning them. Open the align menu from


  1. Click on Object -> Align and distribute


Exporting files for the laser cutter

  •  Inkscape assumes a resolution of 90 DPI, and Illustrator 72 DPI. If the laser cutter requires an Illustrator file, you must change the resolution to 72 before you export.

    To change the dpi in Inkscape, select
    File > Inkscape Preferences > Import/Export > change the dpi in the box there.
  • Save as your file as an SVG


Uploading files for laser cutting

  • Upload your files to the Dropbox folder. You will be invited to share this folder.


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