Printing plans - How to print out 2D lines and plans .. Put your model designs here - RC Groups
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Dec 22, 2011, 08:36 AM
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Printing plans - How to print out 2D lines and plans .. Put your model designs here

Ive noticed there is not much info here on rcgroups about how to produce your 2D plans..There is a lot of good Cad models but not so much on simple line drawings

So I will start here....

Recently Ive been making dxf and dwg drawings and various other picture format into PDF plans.. I am not sure why that format is prefered, but it seems to be so..

programs used...sketchup... cutepdf writer.. Gimp... Inkscape... all are free

Using sketchup7 with the dxf plugins it is easy to import CAD files and the image files but it wont import a pdf.. exporting is to a variety of formats again, but not pdf... for pdf you install cutepdf, which integrates with all the programs as a selection in the printer box

With cutepdf installed PDF files can be made using the cute pdf writer printing option, found in the printer selection box in print settings..these pdf's can be made from any program on your PC.and can be output in all paper sizes including A4, letter etc and it has a post script page setting that goes up to 200" so big plans are all catered for..
Selective use of the PS settings can produce pdf's suited for comercial printers which print to a 36" wide roll

Gimp will handle all your images and it will import pdf files as well... normal photo manipulation is done in gimp... much like photoshop, it does a lot and takes a while to master..however the basics of cleaning up images are fairly straight forward.. and scaling a plan to suit your requirements is simple enough
Scaleing in gimp is done by adjusting the size of the full image... first you use the measuring tool to get the span... then going to image scaling you need to calculate a new image size for the span you want...
calc is ..old image size divided by old span multiplied by new span equals new image size..when scaling, lock the relationship of width to height, enter the new span and scale it... remeasure the new span as a check to see if youve done it correctly..

Last edited by davereap; Jan 08, 2012 at 03:13 AM.
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Dec 22, 2011, 08:58 AM
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rcav8r2's Avatar
Are you using the free SU with plugins, or the paid version?
Dec 22, 2011, 09:03 AM
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got to say free...see below

after some work I ended up with a couple of clean drawings as pdf through the cutepdf writer and dxf posible exported from SU
Last edited by davereap; Dec 23, 2011 at 05:10 AM.
Dec 22, 2011, 09:36 AM
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Vrated's Avatar
I just openned up the DXF file in Acad 14, nice work! how did you do the curves for the aifoils, tail feathers and wing tips?
Dec 22, 2011, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by davereap
got to say free
What plug in are you using for the exports to DXF? I have some stuff in SU that I would like to get to DXF.

Also are you using V7 or V8? If V8, what plug in for importing DXF?

Dec 23, 2011, 04:52 AM
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The above illustrations were downloaded from the internet.. Then worked on in sketchup..
For making nice curves in SU I use the bezier.rb plugin I do all my simple plans in SU as its an easy CAD program to work with..
For additional add on tools look to the sketchucation site and others..
For more info on using SU on simple plans and for starters ..see here...

Use the version7 pro download here.. because thats the version the plugins are for..
Below is a link to a direct download of the 7pro version which will reset back to free after 8 hours use
Remove any free SU8 if its installed then install the older version

and for dxf out..

and dxf in
direct from google.. on this page under workflow enhancements is a link to the on windows or mac to get it.. do a save as in case it later disappears
you need to register with sketchucation to get the downloads going

there are a few dxf importers and exporters so try and find one that does what you want ..
Last edited by davereap; Dec 24, 2011 at 09:00 AM.
Dec 24, 2011, 04:00 AM
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here I have been messing with cutepdf which will print out(save) a pdf

use the preview print options to adjust your settings to get a full size pdf..
have SU in parallel camera mode.. under print, scale has to be at 1:1 with the check boxes as the pic below...
Use HLR is checked which gives a fast job and a smooth dark print... Going high def takes for ever and gives a pale print which is poor

With the plugin installed the import and export gives dfx options..
below the original dfx and a reworked version, with a view of the exported dfx displyed
Last edited by davereap; Dec 24, 2011 at 04:25 AM.
Dec 25, 2011, 02:32 AM
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Cutepdf is available outputting pdf's from any program on your PC

Gimp is for cleaning up your image files ...a powerful open source photo and image editor..much as photoshop

Inkscape vector graphic design program...pdf to dxf an open source program called Inkscape is a vector editor.. A powerful program, but for me just used as a file converter as I prefer sketchup which is so simple for rescaling and working in..
Last edited by davereap; Dec 28, 2011 at 03:17 AM.
Dec 28, 2011, 03:07 AM
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At my age I get those duh!! moments when I go why didn't I think of that before...
so back to making pdf plans

Do the usual.. pdf to dxf, then import or dxf straight in to sketchup..
When in sketchup first scale your plan to the size you want.. the example is to a 60" span
Here's the new simple idea... draw a boundary box tight round your plan.. add dimensions... now when you setup cutepdf the dimensions that are shown for the box are the settings you put for the post script page size..
Remember that in camera the parallel view must be set on... scale at 1:1.....'use HLR' checked on in the print box... and 'use model extents' not on
Next you adjust the window box shape and size and the adjust the zoom on the view..note the mouse wheel will zoom in and out, get the model so the SU window just hides the box you have drawn..
Double check in the preview, then print and save your pdf

Another discovery or duh! moment.... under the camera menu is a 'zoom window' option... this lets you make a selection which is then zoomed up to fit your window... if you select the area just inside your drawn box with this tool the model is zoomed as big as possible to fit in the window.. providing your window is the same basic shape as the plan.. height and with in proportion.. the whole thing should be nicely fitted ready for printing
Last edited by davereap; Dec 30, 2011 at 01:43 AM.
Dec 28, 2011, 03:27 AM
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Sorting other image files...

There is a good tutorial on cleaning up your image files here..
It was made using photoshop but Gimp will do much the same, so I sugest you have a read here first, then find out how Gimp does it

my personal choice would be to import an image into sketchup then trace over, but thats a slower process.. days rather than hours..

More printing quirks from sketchup

Ive been bringing in an image file, cleaned up and converted to black and white in gimp and saved as a psd..photoshop..
I used SU to scale the model plan to a 48" span span..
all ok at this point..
On the print out to a pdf using the usual print settings the image dissapeared...
It was the HLR setting... when using images rather than a dfx file, having the HLR checked on in the print box makes the image vanish.
So uncheck the HLR box and go for large format.. higher resolutions wont improve the look and only take a lot longer to process
And the large format makes for the smallest Mb file

The main problem with image files is you are stuck with whatever quality they were produced or scanned at.. the final plans can be poor , blocky is common, and difficult to work from..thats why I said its always better to do a trace over in sketchup, then the end result is crisp and fully scaleable
Last edited by davereap; Dec 30, 2011 at 01:44 AM.
Dec 30, 2011, 02:58 AM
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More work on improving a plan .... the original by Joseph Colletti

After downloading this plan I found both the dxf and pdf hard to view..

Both were also incorrect to the specified span of 66"
So the dxf was improrted to sketchup, the layers were condensed, the size was scaled to 66" on the span..

Now saved as a pdf and dxf the plan is much improved
Last edited by davereap; Dec 30, 2011 at 03:42 AM.

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