File formats and the maker community across the world.

Hi Vectornator developers and community

Before I make my suggestion, I want to make sure I frame it right.

Across the world there are more than 2000 official fablabs and even more maker- and hacker spaces. Digital production facilities and tools are an economic, technological and social revolution enabling possibly millions of people to learn new skills, realise their ideas as physical objects/prototypes and repairing their broken things with huge benefits to themselves, the environment and society in general.

Many of these digital production tools rely on digital vector drawings that has to be imported into the machine software and processed into various types of g-code. There are many good, and even some excellent, programs out there that can enable people to produce the needed drawings of their ideas, but few of them can export in the industry standardised format, even fewer are available on macOS and none at all, as far as I know, on iOS.

So with that bit of framing out of the way, lets get to my suggestion. Vectonator should support exporting DXF files. There are an untapped potential of new users from the maker/fablab communities. Especially the Apple users where other options are severely limited and often extremely expensive. The options are either full fledged CAD packages costing hundreds if not thousands of $ or large graphic packages costing equally expensive subscription fees.

I know that DXF isn’t well documented, even by AutoDesk themselves, but its the file of choice by an overwhelming percentage of software packages, used or supplied, for controlling an huge array of laser machines, CNC machines, CAM tools and various other toolchains driven by some form of g-code. And, yes, I know it’s not uncomplicated bringing in a DXF workflow to Vectornator, especially since many of the app functions wouldn’t translate to DXF.

But all that being said, with this added functionality and a little footwork starting the rumour mill in the community, I do think it’s possible for Vectornator to become the goto tool of choice for thousands of makers, hackers and tinkerers all over the world.

All the best

/schack lindemann

/technology consultant - project lead /FabLab RUC
/Department of People and Technology /Roskilde University

/external lecturer - teaching artist /Performance Design
/Department of Communication and Arts /Roskilde University

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"