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Adobe Illustrator and HPGL/PLT
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Adobe Illustrator and HPGL/PLT
modularplanner
Hi,

I'm currently designing a large front panel (600mm by 450mm) in illustrator and I want to get the holes for the panel cut by http://www.schaeffer-ag.de/

I understand I need to get the illustrator file converted in HPGL or PLT format so I can import it, does anyone know the best way to go about this. I tried installing a HP Designjet printer driver in File: mode so I can print to file, but this just locks up illustrator.

Should I be designing in other software?

EDIT: Found a program called Inkscape which can import ai files and export HPGL/PLT so I'll give this a go.
bubblesound
have you managed to pull this off yet? i've got inkscape but it doesn't seem to want to import .ai files. or just about anything else. i find the hackerishness of inkscape a little annoying and i probably haven't installed something crucial or done something in terminal mode.
after spending 15 years using illustrator almost daily i guess i've just grow soft....
stk
I've been designing a utility panel in AI (cos I'm fast at it), then just reading off the coordinates and manually entering them in FPE.

Kind of a pain, but it works.
modularplanner
I didnt have any success with inkscape to be honest. Stuck with illustrator and just made sure I kept my drill holes to the nearest mm, it's then not to hard just to type it into the front panel program. All my panel art is going to be printed on card from the same artwork file and then laminated and stuck to the aluminium. Project is on halt for a couple more weeks though whilst having to do some other work.
essex sound lab
I have nothing to add to this thread other than to say that I haven't seen the acronym HPGL since the 80's, and it gave my seizures as I recalled having written an interpreter/renderer for it at the time <shudder>.
daverj
bubblesound wrote:
have you managed to pull this off yet? i've got inkscape but it doesn't seem to want to import .ai files. or just about anything else. i find the hackerishness of inkscape a little annoying and i probably haven't installed something crucial or done something in terminal mode.
after spending 15 years using illustrator almost daily i guess i've just grow soft....


I haven't tried inkscape, but have used ai a lot and exported it to various other programs (with varying amounts of success).

Did you save your ai files in an older format first? Remember that ai files went through a major change a couple of years ago. They were originally EPS based, but a few years ago switched to PDF based.

I've found that most programs claiming to import ai files expect the older EPS based versions. So when I want to send to another program I usually save a copy of the ai file in the oldest format that Illy can save.
Neutron7
http://www.justskins.com/forums/exporting-to-hpgl-plt-89055.html

I did not try that yet. But it looks promising
qu.one
Yes-when in doubt save as v8 EPS or earlier.
j05hu4
Ok I started designing my frontpanel.

First, this Front Panel designer by Sheaffer omfg, my advice to the developers: 'Please google usability'.

So I managed to get my AI (CS5) logo converted to PLT by first 'save as...' and choose EPS. Then convert it to PLT with a 'seemingly' harmless online conversion tool:

https://convertio.co/nl/eps-plt/

This PLT file imports fine when in the HPGL dialog. Still I don't know how to get the whole shape cut and have it filled in as engraving. It looks it wil just engrave the outline of my logo.

Joshua
julian
j05hu4 wrote:
Ok I started designing my frontpanel.

First, this Front Panel designer by Sheaffer omfg, my advice to the developers: 'Please google usability'.

So I managed to get my AI (CS5) logo converted to PLT by first 'save as...' and choose EPS. Then convert it to PLT with a 'seemingly' harmless online conversion tool:

https://convertio.co/nl/eps-plt/

This PLT file imports fine when in the HPGL dialog. Still I don't know how to get the whole shape cut and have it filled in as engraving. It looks it wil just engrave the outline of my logo.

Joshua


It will. Any solids exported to hpgl and subsequently imported to will end up as outline.

I guess you could add many internal lines to the shape, and do it that way. It depends on the shape you are trying to fill (make solid) though.

I work in a different way to fpd, and can convert outline shapes to solids as part of the process at this end, but, with fpd, you either have to accept them as outline, or add linework yourself and hope it all works out ok.

(PS I'm cheaper than fpd also.... ; )
whoop_john
Illustrator will export as PDF. An option is then to convert to DXF using the online converter at https://cloudconvert.com/ - I think FPD can then import the DXF.

Julian's panels are really lovely. He supports our community and, as he says, he is cheaper than Schaeffer. Give Julian a try - he is my first port of call.
j05hu4
julian wrote:


It will. Any solids exported to hpgl and subsequently imported to will end up as outline.

I guess you could add many internal lines to the shape, and do it that way. It depends on the shape you are trying to fill (make solid) though.

I work in a different way to fpd, and can convert outline shapes to solids as part of the process at this end, but, with fpd, you either have to accept them as outline, or add linework yourself and hope it all works out ok.

(PS I'm cheaper than fpd also.... ; )


Cheaper?! Your work doesn't look cheaper, I just checked it, it looks fabulous!!

I'll send you a request for a quote grin

Thanks, Joshua
JanneI
j05hu4 wrote:
...it looks fabulous!!


It really is! Mine's the Prodigy in the pic gallery, really happy how it turn out! Highly recommended!
flts
JanneI wrote:
j05hu4 wrote:
...it looks fabulous!!


It really is! Mine's the Prodigy in the pic gallery, really happy how it turn out! Highly recommended!


Yeah, another super happy customer with an oversized job here. No official pic in the gallery yet until finally I snap one...!
Altitude909
what people consistently fail to understand with PLT/HPGL files is that it is not just any old graphics format, it is a plot file. This means if you want a filled area, you must plot out the paths for cutter to remove that material. The only sane way of doing this is the method shown here:

https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Hand buecher_Datenblaetter/PDFs/Manual_for_HPGL.pdf
ersatzplanet
Front panel express, which is the same company's USA branch, now takes image files for the graphics and can do a Photo-etch process to put them on the metal.

If you want to do etching, gloves cut into the metal, you will need that plotter file. Solids will be made by cutting multiple grooves next to each other so those can stay in. I believe you can import DXF files and Illustrator can export those directly.
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