Inkscape “Render” Extension – Lots of Drawing Tools for Engineers!

While looking around on some Inkscape Documentation, I found this page on the Inkscape Render Extension.  Although called an extension, this tool comes pre-installed with a new download of Inkscape.

Among this collection of tools, the thing that really interested me at first was the gears generator.  As I’d been experimenting with generating gears using this template generator imported into Inkscape, this seemed very interesting to generate them directly in Inkscape.

The gears come out very nicely, but unfortunately everything is specified in pixels.  I’ve read that the SVG spec has a default setting of 90 dots per inch or 3.54 dots/millimeter, so a conversion should be theoretically possible (I’ve yet to get good results though).  If I had nothing else to go by, I would definitely investigate this further, but the aforementioned gear generator is working well (the paid version is what I’ve been using), so I’ll keep importing from that for now.

If your intention is to simply draw gears, this function should work extremely well.  The gears pictured above were drawn using this tool and with a good understanding of Inkscape (which I don’t have), very impressive results can be achieved.

Besides the gear tool, there is a barcode generator.  It will print out both 1D and 2D barcodes (or data matrix codes) like the one on the right that supposedly prints out “jcopro.net”.  I haven’t tested it, so if you verify this to be the case, let me know in the comments.  No QR code function as far as I can tell.  You’ll have to go here to generate that.

Other functions that seemed interesting from an engineering/hobby perspective were the grid and polar grid generators, the function plotter (sin etc.), a formula generator, and a “random tree” function with straight line segments.  An example of this “tree” is shown below.  The one on the right was generated from this tool, where the left

The “random tree” function might not seem that interesting, but with some Inkscape tricks, it looked like a fun shape to make with my router.  Apparently it’s based on the Logo programming language with “Turtle Geometry”.

I’m hoping to cut one of these “random trees” out at some point.  Changing the “random tree” path on the right into 2 paths shown on the left is important for this, so I’ll probably go over that technique as well.

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