Category Archives: Creative Stuff

How to vectorise using Inkscape

So you have a nice raster image that would look great blown up on some laser cut wood or just thrown in to a presentation slide but it is so small that it looks awful when you scale it up. You could try vectorising it in Inkscape, which also comes in handy if you want to cut it out on the laser cutter.

So, start with your image;

squid scanned from biology book

Now threshold the image to make the vectorisation simpler. I used GIMP but photoshop or similar will do this for you;

Threshold image

Select your image, and click on Path->Trace Bitmap. There are a lot of options you have to play around with. For example you can separate the image using edge detection or you could do multiple scans of colour ranges. It is best to experiment until you find what you want. The good thing is that Inkscape allows you to export as a dxf file which means you can then load it in to CAD software to cut or machine out later on.


In this example I have separated the image using grey scale values to create four individual object paths. Three of which are shown below (the fourth one didn’t show much).



Star Wars glowing mask

Im going to a festival next week where I need a costume. A few months back I picked up a clone trooper mask in a local supermarket in the sale.

I can’t just wear a mask, that is lazy… it needs a hit of robotics expertise, it needs to glow and change colour! I have been working on an atmel i2c system for a while, but time is short and a technician at work introduced me to this;
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