Author Topic: DXF Problem in Silhouette Basic  (Read 67 times)

August 10, 2018, 01:57:04 PM
Read 67 times

RGAustin

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Hi all. Sorry my 1st post is a cry for help, but I'm at my wits end.

I began creating cut files in Inkscape (92.3) (Windows 10) for my shop. As I went, I checked each file (over 50) in Silhouette Basic (SB). All was well until I got a 'loading' message in SB. Now it can take up to 90 seconds for a file to load and once it does, it has mangled nodes - twists and clumps.

All the files I previous checked have this problem now. Other files (not ones I created) do not have this problem. When I convert my files using an online SVG to DXF service, they are fine in SB. There are no problems with my DXF files in Cricut. When I check the DXF in Inkscape it is broken into very small (2 node) pieces. There are no gradient or patterns in the designs. 

I've uninstalled and reinstalled SB twice and deleted a file their site says to delete when getting the loading message. I have uninstalled and reinstalled Inkscape.

I've saved files as SVG and Plain SVG. I've tested a very simple (3 shapes converted to paths) file. I've re-saved others' files. I've simplified nodes. I've saved as Grouped, Ungrouped, and Union. I saw that some of the others' DXF files were Symbols (in the status bar). I tried that and got a blank screen in SB (no loading message).

I have no problems with the SVG, EPS, or PNG files. I have no problems with my computer. 64-bit operating system, 8GB Ram, and 2 antivirus programs.

I think, but am not sure, that I saw an auto-update in SB right before this happened. I see no option to go back to a prior version. That does not explain the broken lines of the files in Inkscape so I guess this is originating there but like I said, the files are fine in Cricut (free version).

I've spent days searching and seems even Google can't find this problem, let alone the solution, but did manage to get me here where I can't find it either.

Thanks for reading all this. I hope someone has a clue what is going on.
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August 12, 2018, 12:22:32 AM
Reply #1

brynn

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Welcome to the forum!

I appreciate your diligent troubleshooting!  Let me make sure I understand the problem.  Is this "loading message" some kind of error message?  Does it just say it's taking too long, or something else?  Also, when you "check" the files, what are you checking them for?  Are you looking for something, making sure the files are ok?  Or it is some kind of editing?

Can you tell us specifically the steps you're taking?  Something about your explanation gives me the idea you're using a script, or possibly commandline for some of this.

Are these files which you've downloaded from somewhere?  Or did you draw them yourself?  Or maybe both?  Is SVG to DXF the only format conversion in this process?

In some file conversions, we do see that paths have somehow been broken up into a multitude of short, 2-node paths.  We might have a solution for that, if it can't be avoided.  But I'm not sure if that solution would apply in your case.

So if you can explain the "path" which a single file takes, step by step, either from the point when you finish drawing it and save the file, or from the point when you download it; to the point where the problem occurs, we can hopefully find the problem.

Also, please share one of the files with us - the SVG file, and if you're downloading a different format, please share that one too.
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August 12, 2018, 02:36:15 PM
Reply #2

RGAustin

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Thanks for your response :0

In Silhouette's FAQ I found under: "Software Crash on Initializing OR Loading Icons OR Generating Cut Job" they say to: "Delete the Folder com.aspexsoftware.Silhouette_Studio (and) Empty the Recycle Bin."  I've done that twice.

Depending on how long the loading goes on, it can show "Not Responding" in the file name at the top.

My checks are only for quality/useability of the design. I had a learning curve on this and initially revised multiple times to improve lines.

I don't know any scripts or command lines - am not that advanced in Inkscape.

I create from Inkscape using mostly the pen and shapes - no use of any images, tracing, or text. I use Object and Stroke to Path as applicable. I then use Difference in some places (to save the user vinyl) and Union similar elements for ease of applying color. (Union doesn't really work in Silhouette basic.) I delete any excess nodes then I group everything together and save as SVG, DXF, EPS, and export PNG - in that order.

I have read (mostly cut file users' blogs) that grouping should not be used, but I found no reason why as elements easily ungroup. Still I tried this as well as not doing Union.

Using Plain SVG works best for Cricut, but makes no difference in my DXF in Silhouette. Again, no DXF problem in Cricut. I used cloudconvert.com (SVG to DXF) with success, but would prefer not to have to use it.

I do the checks of the EPS and PNG in Photoshop (no issues). I had no issues with the DXFs initially - the same ones I have issues with now, which is the strange part to me. 50+ files over a month's time.

I've attached one of my SVG designs, the loading and not responding messages, a zoomed in image of mangled nodes in my design in Silhouette (this one took about 15 seconds to load). I've also attached a DXF that I downloaded. As you will see, it's a 'Symbol in block_2' (as are many others I have found online). It works exactly as it should in Silhouette. It has no groups and cannot be broken apart in Inkscape.

I can't find how to do this and when I save it as a DXF, I get nothing but a blank screen in Inkscape upon re-opening. I can upload my save to Silhouette though. Attached is a portion of the mangled mess my save creates (30 plus seconds to upload).

In writing this, I'm more confused than ever. Thanks again for reading all this.


 
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August 12, 2018, 07:12:46 PM
Reply #3

brynn

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Ooh, I see.  It's just that loading suddenly started taking longer than it did at first, and now you just see a notification that loading is happening.  You'll have to forgive me.  We're used to people giving us sketchy information (such as, literally sometimes, "this doesn't work") and we have to extract details from them.  We're not used to people giving us so much detail, haha.

So there is no error message, it just takes longer, and the contents are for some reason, being altered, just by....you're either importing them into Silhoutte or opening in Silhouette.  Right?

In Silhouette's FAQ I found under: "Software Crash on Initializing OR Loading Icons OR Generating Cut Job" they say to: "Delete the Folder com.aspexsoftware.Silhouette_Studio (and) Empty the Recycle Bin."  I've done that twice.

No, I would not say your problem is a crash exactly.  So no need to re-do those steps again. But there's definitely a problem!  Is this problem where the paths are changed, happening when you convert to DXF, or when you import or open in SS?  It sounds like you're saying it's happening when the DXF is loaded into SS.  But I just want to be sure.

Is the file My Design Nodes.png from the My Butterfly Design.svg file?  Could you give us the DXF version of the same SVG file?  Like for example, since you already uploaded  My Butterfly Design.svg, could you also upload My Butterfly Design.dxf?  Well, it doesn't have to have the same name, but what we need is the same SVG file after it converted to DXF.  The before and after, so to speak.

Ooohh.....  But if this is happening when you load the DXF into SS, then you don't actually have a DXF file with the distorted paths.  The PNGs you showed are from your preview in SS, aren't they?  Have I got that right?

Well, it still might help to have both SVG and DXF of the same file, if you can.

I have a couple of ideas what might be happening.  If the following ideas don't give you any clues to fix the problem, if you could share the DXF version of that same butterfly file, that will help.

First, everything in the butterfly SVG is grouped.  As you've said, and as I would guess, groups are probably not accepted.  Although I don't know what the DXF conversion does with a group, if the group survives the conversion, then possibly the group is causing these problems?

Next, see my screenshots where I have zoomed into about the same area as your PNG, added a black stroke and removed the fill color.  The first one is the original file.....well actually, I'll make a video instead.  I think that will be better. 

Helping someone else who was using a different cutter hardware/software (a few months ago) they found that the cutter-ware was trying to correct what it thought was a problem with the file.  It was adding a lot of extra and unwanted paths.  If the group turns out not to be the problem, I wonder if something like that might be happening for you.

But first, one more comment.  While I don't have any kind of digital cutter, I have a pretty good general idea of how things are supposed to work.  The first thing I noticed in the butterfly file are a lot of paths crossed over each other.  Since those paths are literally where the machine will cut, you'll have one path cutting other paths into pieces.  I wonder if your cutter-wares are trying to correct that, and....well, not succeeding?

In the video, where I've made some of the paths more narrow, and zoomed in, is to show you how paths that look like they are on top of each other, are actually crossing back and forth over each other.  And also where I'm pulling apart some nodes, to show some separate little subpaths, I wonder if the cutter-wares are trying to correct these things, but not very well.  You can delete the extra subpaths, since they aren't needed anyway.

If the lines crossing over each other could be the problem we can help you learn how to make them perfectly aligned with each other, so the machine won't have a  problem with them.  If they aren't the problem let's look at the DXF file, and see if there might be some clues there.

Here's the video: 
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August 13, 2018, 12:37:51 AM
Reply #4

RGAustin

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I'm so very sorry I gave you such a bad file and thank you for all the effort you put into reviewing it and making the video.

Yes, the only problem with the DXF is in Silhouette. 

I've spent hours trying various things and have come to the conclusion that the problem is in the SVG to DXF save in Inkscape. I looked at more files created by others and all their DXF files say in the status bar: Symbol in block_(a number) in Layer 1. The snowman I attached before is a example of this.

I've tried to create a symbol out of the multiple elements and have gotten poor success so far.

Using CloudConvert works. The perfect file pops right into Silhouette, but I hate putting the files on the web. My brain is fried so I'll search tomorrow for how to do this.

If you have an info, please point the way. Thanks again for all your help.



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August 14, 2018, 12:01:49 AM
Reply #5

brynn

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Yes, when I open the snowman file you shared, I see that it's called Symbol.  I don't know what that means, but I might be able to figure it out, if I had the same "before and after" file to examine.  It might be you're using the wrong options when you convert to DXF.  When I convert a file to DXF, I don't get the Symbol type of object.

I've tried all the options in the DXF dialog, but I can't make it change the object to a Symbol.  The only way I can get a Symbol object in the DXF file, is if I use a symbol from the Symbols dialog.  Actually I'm surprised the machine will cut it.  It might not be the correct way to do it, but you can always convert objects to symbols.

In the snowman file, I see a similar situation to the butterfly file, where there are 2 paths which overlap each other, in some of the places.  But I can't check the other places, because it's not a path.

Oh hey....isn't the Silhouette related to the Robomaster?  In the Save As DXF dialog, have you tried checking the option to use the RoboMaster type of output?

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August 14, 2018, 11:22:16 AM
Reply #6

RGAustin

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I read on one blog that both options in the DXF dialog are Autocad functionality only, but I've tried checking both, one at a time, and none. I've also tried all units in sizing the thing.

I had noticed that others' files are called "Symbol Called block_2 in layer Layer 1" which seemed quite odd.

Naming it "block" doesn't work. Inkscape ignores my ID and names it "Symbol called Symbolxxxxx" where x is a number. So... I searched for block and there it was... maybe.

"How to save in blocks in Autocad: Click Block Editor tab Open/Save panel Save Block."  Time wise, I'm going broke on this venture and don't want to buy Autocad. I'm still searching for an alternative. So far all I find in "saving blocks in Inkscape" is quilting blocks.



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August 14, 2018, 12:53:15 PM
Reply #7

brynn

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No, "block_2" is just the name of the symbol, for some reason.  You'd have to ask whoever made the file why they named it that.  If you have a few files where the objects have the same name, I would guess they are made by the same artist, and that's just part of their process to name them that way.  In any case, that name is irrelevant as far as cutting the file or this problem that you see when you load them in the cutter.

I'm sorry I can't remember this, or if you mentioned it.  Are you making any of these files?  Or are they all downloaded and you're just making edits to them?  If you're downloading them, then there's no way to know how they are made, or why they are having this problem.  The 2 I've looked at aren't made very well for cutting.  And the place where they aren't made very well are the same places where you see the extra paths.

Unfortunately, there's no chance I could figure out what's happening in the files you provided, because I don't have both the SVG and DXF of the same drawing.  If I had that, I might be able to figure out what's wrong.  Might.

Are you sure the ones labeled as symbols will cut?  That's a little surprising to me (not that I'm an expert).

If you were to start from scratch in Inkscape, and convert your Inkscape drawing to DXF, I think they would probably work as expected.  But downloading files, you're never sure what you're getting.

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August 15, 2018, 11:51:01 AM
Reply #8

RGAustin

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I've obtained a number of files that are named block_2 that are from different sources - freebies to paid files and none the same artist or at least claiming to be. When I try to name the files that I make from scratch 'Block', Inkscape chances it to Symbol. My last resort is to ask competitors, but I'm close :0.

I'm sure at least the paid ones will cut, or the artists would be out of business. Images are usually cut in multiple colors (multiple sheets of vinyl for example) then assembled so overlapping and duplicate lines aren't an issue. My files aren't ready for cutting as I've not gotten past this problem.  Snowman would waste a little vinyl on the duplicate arms but would otherwise be fine.

I've attached a SVG and DXF of the same file (a freebie for email signup from a cut file store). The DXF image is about the size of a period and is at the bottom left of the page (most are this way).

Thanks again for your efforts. I totally understand throwing in the towel on this one. 
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August 16, 2018, 04:00:14 AM
Reply #9

brynn

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Oh, if you're getting these from professionals, they are probably using Adobe Illustrator, or other proprietary graphics programs.  So it would not be surprising that converting their SVG to DXF using Inkscape is not going smoothly.  Converting a file format is not necessarily a trouble-free proposition to begin with.  And when you add in different graphics programs into the mix, most of the time, all bets are off.  At least that's the case with Inkscape.

If they are different artists, and they're all called by the same ID, then they must all be using the same program or the same technique.  And for some reason that program or technique is giving them they same name.  I don't know.  Symbol, is the type of SVG element.  block_2 is simply the ID of the object.  It has no relevance to how the cutter uses the file.  It's just a way to identify which symbol it is or which object it is, in case there were other objects in the file.   (And there are a LOT of other symbols in the DXF file! Each individual "path" seems to be a symbol.)

Why they are Symbols, I don't know either.  It could be that however they are creating the DXF files makes them a symbol.  Or, when we open the DXF in Inkscape, they are converted to SVG, and that process, maybe Inkscape is somehow recognizing them as symbols.

Can you convert the bubblegum princess SVG to DXF and load it into your cutter, and make a screenshot, so I can see which areas are causing problems?

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