I have cutting plotter and I want to plot raster or vector pictures with it. For example I have a photo... I convert it to B/W mode, than using some software (this is the question - what software!?) that makes trajectory for a plotter pencil movement ("slicing" in 3D printers terminology), then I send the information to plotter and pencil sketch of my picture done.

How can I realise my idea?

  • Can you place a pencil so that it draws just the same lines which the machine in its normal use would cut and doesn't draw between the cuts? If yes, then use the normal software of the machine. Only convert your images to a vector format (probably dxf, you know better) and replace all differently shaded areas with differently dense line hatches (=generates the halftoning). I believe, but don't know that a proper conversion software with the ability to create vector halftoning exists. But drawing the image can take a while.
    – user82991
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 6:46

1 Answer 1


So in essence your using it as a pen plotter, nothing really special there.

In graphics terms converting bitmap images to vector paths is called tracing and many vector tools such as Illustrator or Inkscape should have tools for this. But you can even find command line versions of these tools (see Autotrace or Potrace).

Now ideally you wouldn't start form a scan. Ideally you would start with a vector drawing, just like the 3D Printer is! See the 3d model is vector. Reason or this is that the conversion from a discrete image to a vector format is a bit susceptible for errors and loss of fidelity. And as such your simile is not entirely valid.

  • how about raster images? Is using hatch patterns the only way (and I presume that will take some time and manual labor)?
    – Luciano
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 8:06
  • @Luciano well you could rasterize the image with lines, but then you woudnt need the path as such at all. But this is horrendously slow and you would not really want to use a plotter for this.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 8:12

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