SketchUp, Inkscape, and Ponoko Laser Cutting

Flights of Ideas has posted two instructables investigating a method of translating data from Sketchup, into Inkscape and on through Ponoko into 3D object.The first instructable describes how one can use a plugin that he himself has authored for exporting faces in SVG format, that is, Scaled Scalable Vector Graphics format, which can then be imported into Inkscape:

“When I first started using Ponoko I found that there weren’t any specific tools to enable me to export my SketchUp 3D designs. It is really hard to design in 2D and visualise a 3D result (unless you’re an architect or do this for a living); that’s why I wrote the SVG plugin.”

Flightsofideas' cube in Sketchup

Flightsofideas' cube in Inkscape

Flightsofideas' cube in Ponoko

From Sketchup, to Inkscape, to Ponoko – images from Flightsofideas on Instructables

In the second instructable, the author discusses in detail the various outcomes of his experiments with the plugin, and generally with prototyping using Ponoko. As such it is a useful read for any Ponoko user, discussing comparative cutting costs for differing joints and materials. The thorough and clearly passionate author comments:

“I (and others) can’t afford to use [professional software packages] for hobbies – hence why I wrote the plugin and released it as open source. It’s essentially a zero cost pipeline right up until the laser cutting or milling, etc.

Via Todbot blog

4 Responses to “SketchUp, Inkscape, and Ponoko Laser Cutting”

  1. stelt Says:

    It’s actually “Scalable Vector Graphics”.
    See many more examples that use this open format at

  2. Roy Says:

    Thank you! Noted and corrected.

  3. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] More technical info can be found at Ecomodder’s forum, while the wiki carries some examples of existing enclosure solutions, mainly boxy off-the-shelf jobs from Radioshack et al. Perhaps combined with Flightsofideas’ Sketchup plugin [blogged here] or Curious Inventors’ method [blogged here] the indie designer community could come up with something more sleek for the discerning car owner. Even better, if any entrepreneurial Arduino-types would like to commission a design through Ponoko ID… via google search //OBSTART:do_NOT_remove_this_comment var OutbrainPermaLink=””; var OB_demoMode = false; if(typeof(OB_Script)!=’undefined’){ OutbrainStart(); }else{ var OB_Script = true; var OB_langJS =””; document.write (“”); } //OBEND:do_NOT_remove_this_comment […]

  4. ThinkM on laser cutting for 3D products « Ponoko – Blog Says:

    […] 2D laser cutting to make 3D enclosures, clearly a hot topic currently (hence David’s and my recent […]

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