HPGL Distiller (logo)

What is HPGL-Distiller?
HPGL-Distiller is a small program that was written to filter out aspects of a HPGL file which are not relevant for various HPGL output devices, typically vinyl cutters. The original reason for filtering out the irrelevant codes was that my own personal vinyl cutter was responding poorly to the excess data.

screenshot With the use of HPGL-Distiller, you can now finally use your favorite programs like Inkscape, QCAD, GIMP and many others to produce professional vinyl cutting output results without having to jump back to Windows(tm).

How does it work?
The HPGL-Distiller is actually a very simple program (even written in C) that breaks the incoming HPGL data stream into individual HPGL commands and simply copies or ignores each command based on the built in list of 'acceptable' HPGL commands. A lot of HPGL commands generated by pstoedit pertain to aspects of plotting like line type, width, pen colour, pen width and such, all of which aren't always relevant, especially in the cutting processes.

It should be pointed out that as you go up in the range of the plotters/cutters, the HPGL feature set they support will tend to increase (ie, supporting arcs, circles, rectangles natively).

How do I use it?
HPGL-Distiller is used as a post-processing tool after converting an existing vector format (SVG, DXF, EPS etc) into HPGL via 'pstoedit'. By default the output of the pstoedit (with -f plot-hpgl) contains a lot of HPGL commands which are of no relevance to the final vinyl cutter in question.

	pstoedit -f plot-hpgl imagefile.eps fulloutput.hpgl

	hpgl-distiller -i fulloutput.hpgl -o distilled.hpgl

	(subsequently you can possibly output the distilled HPGL to your
	 cutter using 'cat distilled.hpgl > /dev/ttyS1 )

What software licence is this released under?
HPGL-Distiller 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 two step process

  • (unpacking) tar zxvf hpgl-distiller-0.9.0.tar.gz
  • (building) cd hpgl-distiller-0.9.0; make
  • (installing) make install