Is this possible? Ink drawing to CNC?

Been browsing YouTube for days and have yet to find a process that will get me from and pen and ink drawing to a file that can be used in the CNC. Both as a carve and Laser. Long story but my daughter is an artist and we are looking to expand the format for her art. Is this possible, and if so, some ideas on the process… (No Windows, only Mac)

1 Like

Can you post a pic of the kind of thing you are looking to convert as it may help us to determine the best solution for you.

This French carpenter has been vectorising drawings (video is in French but few spoken words, it’s mostly visual) to carve on his CNC.

Alternatively MeshCAM has an image mode that turns a JPEG into a 3D object.

Doesn’t Vcarve have a photo version?

John - can’t you just trace the vector using Inkscape, turn it into a svg, and then import into any of the CAM programs? I’ve done a number of videos on that process before.


If you looking for a way to convert a drawing to a SVG file. One option would be to use a tool like It will allow you to upload a picture and convert the picture to an SVG. The software does a decent job with converting and depending on the type of picture and the resolution you may be able to get good results.


1 Like

My wife drew this, I scanned it into a jpeg, then took it into Inkscape and turned it into a vector, then into V-Carve to cut out. Used oramask, then carved it, then painted it.

Took quite a bit of manual clean-up, but the “hand-drawn” feel of this was part of the charm.

So yes, if you’re willing to put in some time/effort, you can go from pen/paper to CNC’d project!

And if you have adobe, then it has a trace function. My wife uses this to convert her drawings into svg, followed by a lot of tweaking before creating paths ready for etching on silver. Not the cheapest route so expect there are other free versions around that do similar.

Any of the Vector software products will allow you to take a picture, import it and trace the design to create a .svg or equivalent scalable vector file that can then be brought into any CAD software. There is Afinity Designer (very affordable), Inkscape (free), Adobe (might need to re-fi your house), and a few others.

You will need to do some YouTube tutorials to get your started but its not hard to do once you get the hang of it.


1 Like

Thank you so much everyone, I now have more leads to pursue. Dave asked if I could post some some pictures of what I’m thinking of processing so that they can be either carved or laser printed. (BTW, I’m scheduled to get my Onefinity in late August, so I have time to do a lot of exploring) My daughter is a professional artist and does a number of different art formats/styles. One target is her Pilates pin/ink/water color art. For example: were the most likely target will be laser printing. Next she has some more whimsical art here: that might be interesting as a carving on rustic wood. Any other ideas or guidance would be appreciated… Thanks all!!