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Vector Sorting

edited August 2016 in AxiDraw
Does anyone have any advice on vector sorting. I have been creating vectors with Illustrator's auto trace but when I send them to the axidraw the vectors are very inefficiently ordered for drawing. Any ideas how best to sort the vectors to cut down on drawing time? I've looked around and haven't found anything. My laser cutter has this built into the software. Is there some other program or inkscape extension that will do this for me? 



  • I can suggest two options.  

    First, Extensions > Arrange > Restack can be used to re-order your vectors in (for example) a top-to-bottom order, which can help somewhat. 

    Second, there is an extension included as part of the EggBot project that can re-order vectors to minimize pen-up time. We've been thinking about adding it for AxiDraw as well ( ).  

    In the mean time, you can install the EggBot software for Inkscape (see ), which will give you that extension.
  • edited November 2016
    Hey there, I have the same question, but unfortunately neither restack nor Eggbot optimize paths works for me.

    I have generated a file from the weighted Voronoi stippler ( and want to optimize it. If I select only a few points (like 200) it works. Sadly it does not work for more than that.

    Also output svg of Eric Weeks’ quasi.c do not reorder.

    I tried both 32 and 64 bit versions of Inkscape.

    Strangley, the builtin Restack also does not work.

    Any clues? For most of my work right now, the Axidraw is not very effective because I waste about 90% time with the machine going across the board.
  • edited November 2016
    I haven't used that stippling program, so I can't say much about it. Our stippling program has a built-in TSP routine to help reduce air-printing time.

    If the Eggbot optimizer is not working, (or if restack does not work) it may mean that your document does not consist of discrete paths. If, for example, your file consists of many points that are all part of the same path or are grouped together, then neither of those optimizations will be able to do anything.
  • Thanks for your answer Windell, much appreciated.

    I attach the two files in question for reference.

    I had some success now with "quasi_crystal.svg" - I just selected half of the objects, reordered them with the Eggbot TSP script and it worked. So i ordered them in two batches and the results was as expected.
    However with "ulrich_voronoi.svg" I still have the problem with the script not working.

    It seems that the script does not like the amount of objects. Is there anything to do about it?

    If, for example, your file consists of many points that are all part of the same path
    Is there a solution to split them to multiple paths or so?

    Thanks, much appreciated!


  • I downloaded that file, opened it in Inkscape, selected all of the objects, and ran the extension. It took about a minute, but appears to have worked-- it said that it reduced the amount of air-plotting time by 97%.  

    If the total number of objects is too many, you might try selecting only part of them (Half? One quarter?) and optimize that many at a time. The longer path between the optimized parts will have a negligible impact on the overall plotting time.
  • edited November 2016
    Ok now, this is strange. When I use the script, the window appears for a split second and then just quits. I waited for half an hour, but nothing - CPU was also on idle which I assume tells it does nothing. Look at this capture. I selected all individual objects here.

    Can you share some detail on your machine / OS you are on? Because, If it works for you, I might just use another PC/OS if necessary.

    I am on x64 Win7 12GB RAM and Inkscape 0.91 latest
  • On my Mac, it took about one minute-- and it leaves a window to say that it's running open ("Working please wait") the entire time that it's running. If the script halts immediately, then it either failed to launch or crashed immediately. In this case, it looks like it failed to launch. 

    Testing on Windows, it looks like selections with more than about ~2000 objects fails to get transferred to extensions. If you can select 1900 (or so) objects at a time, you should be able to use either extension. If I understand correctly, this is because the platform-dependent implementation of python accepts a different number of command line arguments.
  • edited November 2016
    Little update for people who also have this problem:

    I now use Fedora 24 Design Suite x64 and everything works like a charm, the script does it's work and so the error was directly connected to Windows Python. Thanks for the hint Windell :)

  • Interesting... thank you for the follow up. I think that I'll have to try to figure out some workarounds for future use.
  • I also have the impression that Inkscape runs a lot more stable and faster on the same machine using Fedora. Especially when dragging, scaling or convertig objects/path groups.

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