Cannot Import dxf file into pcbnew in Kicad

I am a newbie at electronics and Kicad and I am making Snowmen with flashing led’s for Xmas tree ornaments as a xmas project and i have tried to import dxf files from Adobe Illustrator, GIMP and Inkscape. Each time it says there is no graphic. I have imported it as a footprint graphic into pcbnew but cannot make it an edge cut. I have the latest version of Kicad 5.1.10. I have tried an older version of Illustrator 10 and latest versions of GIMP and Inkscape with no joy. just about pulling what little hair i have out. If anyone can assist me i would be extremely grateful.
P.S. I have made and had 14 pcb’s produced with Nextpcb and the quality has been great. The first project was a dud, but the rest have been great. Guitar Pedals and Small amps for Buskers generally - no fancy shaped pcb’s.

Autocad have changed the Dxf format many times over the years. Try exporting as v11 as this seems to be the best supported in KiCad.

When you change tools, it takes some time to learn how to work with them, and find a workable path for the “unusal” cases. At the moment import of external graphics is not a strong point of KiCad, but import of .DXF files does work. I’ve done it a few times myself.

Are you sure that Gimp can even export as dxf? It is a pixel program, but I do not know it well enough to know if it has any vector capabilities.

The first export I did of a DXF in inkscape resulted in a 210 bytes file size, so obviously there is not much in it.

With an export in R14 DXF format, there is some help in Inkscape V1.0.2 which suggests it only supports a very limited list of primitives:

The help also makes mention that you apparently have to select what to save / ecport. (in the last line) Asking how the export of dxf works in Inkscape is maybe better asked on an Inkscape forum.

Apparently svg2shenzhen can be used to get drawings made in Inkscape into KiCad. I have not used it myself, and I’ve read mixed successes with it.

There are numerous incompatibles/quirks with DXF imports in 5.1.10. It’s been improved a bit in 5.99/nightlies.


Gimp was the basis for Inkscape.

I never have a problem importing DXF into PCBnew 5.1.10… (and earlier)

Screenshots show items imported into Silk and Edge_cut:

• DXF made in Inkscape and loaded into Kicad

• DXF made in LibreCAD and loaded into Kicad

• DXF made in FreeCAD and loaded into Kicad

Best to stick with R14 format

If using Inkscape (or Gimp) be sure to Select the item before Saving DXF (or, you get ‘nothing’). Best to select the items and use the “Edit>Resize Page To Selection”

This is not true, other than both being based on GTK

Quite True (one is Raster based, one is Vector based). But, Gimp lead to Inkscape… Or, should say, Gimps’ shortcomings lead to Inkscape…) I didn’t want to do a lot of typing but, should have kept fingers silent…

As a total Inkscape nOOb I managed to get something from Inkscape to Pcbnew:

I used the “draw freehand” tool in Inkscape to draw 3 shapes, then selected the arrow tool (Select and Transform objects) and selected all three shapes, and then: Inkscape / File / Save a Copy in the format: Desktop Cutting Plotter (AutoCAD DXF R14)(*.dxf) format.

In KiCad I used Pcbnew / File / Import / Import Graphics.

As a pleasant surprise I discovered that the import is in the form of editable Bezier curves, instead of a gazillion straight line segments.

Thanks for all the help. Have worked it out with your Help. Cheers

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