A better open-source extension for Silhouette Cameo, Inkscape, and Ubuntu

I would have updated my previous attempt at configuring Inkscape to work with the Silhouette Cameo, but got so swept up in the excitement of cutting vinyl stickers, I forgot to do it until now. Unless something has changed since my last relevant post, InkCut doesn’t really work.

This post demonstrates how to configure the open-source inkscape-silhouette extension on Ubuntu 16.04.

System and dependencies

Do the usual system prep before adding the software upon which Inkscape and the Silhouette extension depend:

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sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Ubuntu 16.04

Just as with a conventional printer, the Silhouette Cameo requires some drivers be installed before it can work with Ubuntu.

Open your System Settings:

[Open System Settings]

Open the Printers option:

[Click Printers]

Add a printer:

[Add Printer]

Hopefully you see your device in the list:

[Find device in list]

The drivers for generic printing devices will suffice in this situation:

[Select Generic] [Text-only driver]

Change your cutter’s name, if you like. I left these settings untouched:

[Printer description]

Not sure what would happen if you attempted to print a test page. I cancelled:

[Cancel test page]

If all is well, you should see the device you just added:

[Silhouette device added]

Inkscape

The Inkscape vector graphics tool has an extension that enables you to send your own SVG files to the Cameo.

Add the Inkscape repository and install:

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sudo add-apt-repository ppa:inkscape.dev/stable
sudo apt update
sudo apt install inkscape

Run it from the command line to make sure it works:

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inkscape

inkscape-silhouette extension

These steps are adapted from the inkscape-silhouette wiki.

This extension depends upon python-usb:

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sudo apt install python-usb

Next, you’ll need to download a copy of the extension’s latest release. At the time of writing, you could obtain it from the command line like this:

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cd ~
wget https://github.com/fablabnbg/inkscape-silhouette/releases/download/v1.19/inkscape-silhouette_1.19-1_all.deb
sudo dpkg -i inkscape-silhouette_1.19-1_all.deb

Try it out

Execute inkscape (from the command line, if you wish):

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inkscape

Load the SVG file you want to cut and navigate to Extensions > Export > Send to Silhouette:

[Extensions > Export > Send to Silhouette]

I leave the settings for you to play with. I only cut vinyl, so I go with the extension-provided defaults:

[Vinyl defaults]

When ready, press Apply and watch your Silhouette Cameo spring to life.