What is DXF-HPGL?
DXF-HPGL is a small program that was written originally to allow the conversion of the older R12 DXF files into HPGL format for the purpose of sending to a HPGL capable plotter/cutter machine. Specifically it was written so that solder-paste masks could be converted to HPGL after being edited in a CAD application (see HPGL-DXF for the original conversion from HPGL to DXF for editing).
How does it work?
DXF-HPGL is a very simple program (even written in C) that decodes the basic DXF line segments and then assembles them into polygons and then exports them to HPGL.
So, what makes it different to other DXF-HPGL converters?
This one has been written with special consideration for use with vinyl cutters cutting out solder paste stencils. Often with these cutters you need to make multiple passes of the blade to cut through the tough mylar sheets. Rather than doing multiple passes of the whole polygon set, this DXF-HPGL converter makes the cutting machine perform multiple passes of a single polygon at a time without needing to lift the blade, this means a cleaner cut and faster finishing time.
How do I use it?
dxf-hpgl -i datafile.dxf -o datafile.hpgl -r 3 (3 is the number of times you want the cutter to repeat the polygon)
- Does not convert curves or relative-plots
- Does not convey dimensions (though a lot of HPGL files are set in 'mils' or 1/1000")
- Does not convey floating point
What software licence is this released under?
DXF-HPGL is released under the modified BSD licence. This means that it's compatible with other licences like GPL as well as being commercial/closed-source friendly.
Installation is quite simple, a three step process
- (unpacking) tar zxvf dxf-hpgl-0.0.3.tar.gz
- (building) cd dxf-hpgl-0.0.3; make
- (installing) make install
Example of usage from start to finish for a solder paste stencil
- Export your solder paste pads from Eagle to HPGL format
- Convert the HPGL to DXF: hpgl-dxf -i foo.hpgl -o foo.dxf
- Edit the DXF file in your CAD program and then save as R12 format DXF
- Convert the DXF back to HPGL: dxf-hpgl -i foo.dxf -o foo.hpgl -r 3
- Send the HPGL to your cutter: hpgl-distiller -i foo.hpgl -o /dev/ttyS0 -s 200