[Discuss] OSS/OSHW replacement for DXF?

j. eric townsend jet at functionalprototype.com
Mon Jun 29 15:34:00 UTC 2015

[disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice or opinion,  If there’s a better forum for this question, I’m happy to take this question elsewhere.]

Let’s start with this: DXF is dead, long live DXF!

I’ve spent the past week dealing with a variety of hardware and software packages that all handle different versions and features of DXF and am ready for an OSS replacement.  Epilog, a generic Chinese laser cutter, a Lasersaur, and a Flow-driven waterjet cannot agree on a version of DXF to handle simple lines and curves.  I started looking in to “the right DXF version” and by the weekend realized I was in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

So lets be grown-ups and ditch DXF to the pile of disorganized, organic rules purporting to be standards.

What’s an appropriate substitute?   Here’s where I’m starting:

- DWG: is (and always will be) proprietary

- Teigha: a proprietary replacement for DWG.

- SVG: doesn’t thrill me as it also has too many versions/variation problems and isn’t focused on making physical products. (Quick, how big is a pixel?)

- IGES: no official changes since '95 or ’96, still used for 3d models by the likes of McMaster Carr, but I have had zero luck with exported IGES files and digifab hardware.

- millcrum: interesting idea, in development, but it’s parametric and I’m allergic to that when it comes to wateriets and class IV lasers.

- EPS: ugh

- PDF: see EPS

- AI: proprietary

- HPGL: I’ll ask grandpa what it was like to walk to school both ways uphill in the snow.

- openNURBS:  really open, no copyright or copyleft on the toolkit; arguably the standard is defined by McNeel who own the trademark on “openNURBS”.  

- STL: I haven’t tried 2d STL yet, but I don’t remember seeing it as an import option on many of the 2 and 2.5D systems I use.

If this is better placed on a wiki, let me know and I’ll see to that.


J. Eric Townsend, IDSA
designer | engineer | fabricator
jet at functionalprototype.com

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