Gathan Beaga

inkscaping to ponoko

inkscapeI’ve paused from the playing of Zelda this weekend. Instead, I’ve been deeply engaged uncovering the mysteries of Inkscape, an open-source vector drawing tool.

Having scored a Ponoko beta invitation – or more correctly, Becky has, as I never quite made it to the beta meet-up – we needed to find a way to submit drawings to a certain spec given an impending deadline. My theory was that Becky could have the ideas, and that I could operate the drawing software. Having neither Illustrator, Freehand, or CorelDraw at hand, I thought I’d try using Inkscape. I’ve used it before for a few things, but not for anything more complex than a few lines and boxes.

I also thought that Inkscape would be a nice choice for Ponoko’s makers: it’s free; it runs on Mac, PC and Linux, and has a cracking good manual (the book version of which I have printed and bound for easy reference).

It turns out that playing with Inkscape is a lot of fun. I came up with an idea of my own that I’ve now finished the drawings for. Whether it’ll work or not is another question which may or may not be answered.

Meanwhile Becky’s still working on hers, having been abandoned temporarily while I did mine. She’s grasped Inkscape pretty quickly. And to help, I went down to Tricky‘s and scored one of their no-name drawing tablets (the XH1913 and actually an Aiptek – get the latest Mac and PC drivers here). It’s good enough for the job at hand, and connects happily to all our machines.

So at the very least, Ponoko has made us try some new stuff. Hopefully we can make the deadline, but if we don’t, we’ll have a good headstart when it comes out of beta.

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