SVG Files (Otherplan Classic)
This guide refers to Otherplan Classic, OMC’s legacy application for Mac OS X.
One feature in Otherplan Classic is that it can import and cut .svg files.
What’s an .svg file?
Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) is a common image file format. Unlike raster image files (like .jpg, .gif, and .png) that store images in grids of colored pixels, .svg files store image information as lines and shapes. As such, they can be scaled to any size and still look perfectly sharp, unlike a .jpg, which may look fuzzy and pixelated when scaled up.
More importantly, because .svg files store shapes instead of pixels, Otherplan Classic can turn the shapes into toolpaths, which you can then cut on the Othermill.
Why is this useful?
These .svg files are useful for cutting out two-dimensional shapes for jewelry, stencils, and other design elements; cutting multi-level shapes for 2.5D projects like chocolate molds; and are a great starting point for learning how to cut basic shapes on the Othermill.
Formatting Your SVG File
In order to make an .svg file that Otherplan Classic can use to cut your material, you may need to do a small amount of formatting in your graphics program first.
An important thing to think about as you’re creating your .svg is stroke thickness. Since you’ll be cutting an actual physical object, stroke thickness that corresponds to the width of the tool you want to use is very useful.
In Inkscape, for example, go to Object > Fill and Stroke, and select the Stroke Paint tag. Make sure the Stroke Paint is set to Flat. Then, go to the next tab, Stroke Style, and set the width of your stroke to slightly wider (say, 0.001'‘ than the diameter of the too you want to use. In the case of an engraving bit, the default stroke width works fine, but produces fine lines. If you’d like the lines to be thicker, set your stroke width accordingly. This is a nice opportunity to experiment with different tools to get the effect you’d like.
After you’ve set your stroke paint and width, make sure all your objects, text, and strokes are converted to paths. Graphics tools usually have an easy way to do this; for example, in Inkscape, it’s Path > Object to Path or Path > Stroke to Path.
Otherplan Classic looks at lines and filled areas to determine the inside and the outside of a shape, and it’ll also cut within fills by default.
For example, if your .svg looks like this:
It will render in Otherplan Classic like this:
Otherplan Classic will render fills of any color, including white. Make sure to check that empty areas are filled or cleared the way you want them!
Using Your SVG File in Otherplan Classic
Once your image is converted to paths, save it as an .svg and try importing it into Otherplan Classic. Once your file is imported, you can choose the tools you want to use, how deep you want the cut, and the material out of which you want to cut it.
Here’s another example, this time of what an unfilled .svg looks like:
Unfilled means it has no color inside the black outline. This way Otherplan Classic recognizes the outline stroke and cuts only that.
Here’s how it renders in Otherplan Classic:
In the imported plan file window, you’ll see a number of options to select for cutting your shape.
“Placement”: There are options for manually setting the x, y, and z-axis coordinates, as with any other file. The Placement button also allows you to scale your image up or down. Sometimes, with .svg files that are too big for the machining bed, Otherplan Classic will give you a warning and automatically scale the image down to fit.
Parts to Cut: Choosing “Engraving” will cut the interior of the .svg. Choosing “Cutout” will cut around the outside of the .svg all the way through the material. You can choose one or both of them, depending on the project.
Tools to Use: This allows you to choose up to three tools to use for your project.
Engraving Cut Depth: This is how deep the interior of the .svg will be cut.
Things to Keep in Mind
You can invert the image in Otherplan Classic when you have BitBreaker Mode enabled (Otherplan > Preferences, then check the BitBreaker Mode box). Once BitBreaker is on, you can click on the “Advanced” button in your imported plan file and select an invert option from the pulldown menu.
Otherplan Classic will use the outermost shape as the outline for your project and give you the option of where to cut on the outline. This also requires enabling BitBreaker Mode. You can set the machine to cut the inside, the outside, or the centerline of the outline shape in the “Advanced” dialog box.
Otherplan Classic makes it easy to adjust your files on the fly. Adjust your .svg in your graphics program, and Otherplan Classic will automatically enable the Refresh button on your imported plan file window to update the rendering on the Otherplan Classic machine bed.
In order to cut out shapes within shapes, use a filled shape and what’s known as a Boolean operation in your graphics program to join the two shapes and remove fill where they overlap. For example, in Inkscape, create a filled shape with your desired cutout (here we used a filled gear with a circle in the middle with no fill). We then used the Path > Combine tool to make the gear one combined shape.
Notice that once FilledCombinedGear.svg is imported, we inverted it, then selected both “Engraving” and “Cutout” to the outline shape and the inside cutout to render, so it cuts the whole gear shape. The center of the gear will be engraved out, rather than cut as an outline.
To mill a cutout as an outline instead of an engraving, create the unfilled shape of your cutout as a separate file, import both your outline and the cutout shape to Otherplan Classic, and use the “Placement” button for each file to align them where you need them.
If you have questions or suggestions about .svg handling in Otherplan Classic, please let us know! You can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.