Tracing Bitmap Logo to CAD File with Inkscape

CAD program like AutoCAD has limited function for art design, so it’s quite difficult to create a design such as a logo that has complex design. With the help of design application like Inkscape, we can simplify complex design into editable CAD design.
Preview tutorial

In this tutorial I will use Inkscape to trace the bitmap logo into vector object.
1. In Inkscape go to menu File -> Import… Then select the image to be converted. Choose embed option then click OK. For sample I use logo that has a few colors to ease the conversion.
2. To convert to vector object, select the image then select menu Path -> Trace Bitmap…. The Trace Bitmap dialog window will shown.
3. Select Colors and Remove background option. The value on Scans field is depends on how many color available in the image. Less colors, less value. In this sample I fill 5 for the value. Click OK.
Trace Bitmap window

4. The traced object will be located above the original, so move it to see the difference. Select it, right click then Ungroup. Zoom in to the traced object. Simplify the overall object by deleting unnecessary shape, usually shape that overlapped other shape with almost the same geometry. Here is my result:
Simplify object
Don’t worry about the color though. We can change it in CAD program.

5. After simplified, convert it to CAD-compatible file. Delete the original bitmap object, menu File -> Save As…
6. Select Save as type: *.dxf. Click Save.
7. Open CAD program, such as AutoCAD. File -> Open. Select the .dxf file. Now you can modify it as free as you want. FYI the objects are converted to spline type. For text, I delete the traced one and use the text command to recreate it.
Opened dxf file

R. Bambang Widiatmoko

I'm an engineer and working in engineering consultant office. I have some experience in computer application in graphic design (CorelDRAW, Inkscape, GIMP), AutoCAD, and Office. I also like to read technology news.

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