How to draw Open Street Maps with a Makelangelo

Drawing open street maps on the Makelangelo looks fantastic and is painless once you have the Open Street Map OSM file into DXF format. Here are the steps I use to download Open Street Map data as a DXF.



How to convert SVG drawings for Makelangelo

So you want to prepare SVG drawings so they can be drawn on a Makelangelo.  Nice! Scaleable Vector Graphics (SVG) are an great way of storing images as lines because they can be made bigger or smaller without losing detail. Since the Makelangelo “thinks” in lines, they are a natural fit together.

Inkscape: create your art

Inkscape is a free vector drawing program that loads a ton of file formats, including Adobe Illustrator.  You can use it to turn a photo into line art or sketch something totally new. I used this picture of Darth Vader for this example. (Please support them to show your thanks.)

Darth Vector
Darth Vector

Inkscape: Ungroup

Select everything and choose Object > Ungroup. In some vector images you might have groups of groups of groups, so keep going until the Inkscape status bar says “N objects selected of type Path in root.” Fortunately this Darth Vader image is pretty simple and only needs one Ungroup command.

Inkscape: File > Save As > Desktop Cutting Plotter (AutoCAD DXF R14) (*.dxf)

This is another format well respected in the machining communities.  It is used by everything from Automatic quilting machines to CNC lasers to robot arms. Makelangelo software added support for DXF files in ~2014

Makelangelo: Convert > Open File

You should now see your picture on the screen. The picture will automatically fill the paper as much as it can.

Here you may discover a catch: SVG files can be made from many overlapping shapes, with junk hidden under the top-most layers. When you ungroup and save as DXF, the DXF file will have all the lines. The Makelangelo has no idea what lines are supposed to be on top, so you might need to clean up the vector file in Inkscape before you send it to the Makelangelo.

Makelangelo v7.2.9
Makelangelo v7.2.9

Makelangelo: Start

And that’s it! Much easier than pre-2014 when DXF files needed a lot of massaging.

So where do I get a Makelangelo?

Final thought

I’d really appreciate your feedback about this tutorial.  Please comment below with your questions and I’ll do everything I can to help.