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Inkscape - Making Drawings and Skins


Site Moderator
Greetings Forum Community,

I am starting a thread about Inkscape as a place where we can share information and use it as a reference in using the application.

Inkscape is a free application available for Mac, Windows, & Linux users that appears to be an excellent option for making drawings and graphics. It has been used already in making very appealing aircraft graphics (skins).

If you are interested in aircraft drawings already made, check out the Sponz Plans Index Thread by SPONZ.

If you are interested in skins already made, check out the Decal Plans Thread by localfiend and Rasterize.

For putting things together, check out the Updated-Paper Skin for Foam Board article by desert wings.

Otherwise, feel free to share the handy tips you've found as well as any problems you've encountered. As the thread grows, I will maintain an index to the tips and problems for future reference.

Let's draw!
Hmm, I haven't used Inkscape. I'm a Adobe and AutoCad guy but everyone doesn't have those. I'm going to check it out! I'll look you up next time I'm in Maine visiting family
Thanks for starting this thread Jim, I'll be staying tuned in to learn more.

I downloaded Inkscape a week or so ago after hearing about it from Nerdnic on his YouTube channel. I've played with it some but still have a long ways to go before I will be able to use it comfortably. I don't have an AutoCAD background to speak of, heck, Drafting was done on a table when I learned it in school way back when. Inkscape sure looks handy though and the price is right!


Bounty Hunter
I have been using Inkscape for a couple years now. It is pretty awesome. I just realized this week, that if you build your planes 1:1 i the program it will tell you your wing area in square inches.

Heres 2 videos i have made previously:



Bounty Hunter
Another great thing with inkscape if you build everything 1:1 in the program is that you can get the exact dimensions of parts, like batteries and servos and make place holders to see where they will actually fit in real life.
Wow! Thanks Thenated0g! Your scaling tutorial is just what I've been looking for. I'm actually more interested in trying to scale DOWN some FT plans to try and stay under the 250g registration limit. Your method will speed up the process incredibly. Kudos and thanks again! :applause:


Bounty Hunter
Wow! Thanks Thenated0g! Your scaling tutorial is just what I've been looking for. I'm actually more interested in trying to scale DOWN some FT plans to try and stay under the 250g registration limit. Your method will speed up the process incredibly. Kudos and thanks again! :applause:
No problem. Just fyi that i didnt get into the adjustments needed for things like cutlines and fold lines. I have moved on from designing for foam board and design more for hot wire cutting. Nerdnic i think has a bunch of videos that are specific to foam board.
Thanks, I realized the cut and fold lines would be an issue. I also know that not all designs will scale down successfully but heh, I'll be having fun trying! I've watched all of Nic's videos that he has produced so far and I hope after FFW is over maybe he'll have time to continue the series. This community is incredibly helpful and one of the best sites online IMHO. Gotta love it.


Bounty Hunter
Totally agree. I recently forgot this and went and posted a question in rcgroups. I was looking for some simple slope soaring plank plans or even just a suggestion on sweep and an airfoil to try. Basically i was told that slope soaring planes are too hard to make yourself and just go buy a kit.

I think alot of guys have forgot how awesome it is just to have something fly that you made and get stuck on the process as the end result instead.

My friend sent me nerdnic's first couple videos he posted and i thought to myself that it is too hard there is no way i can do this and so i didnt even watch the videos for several months. Fortunately foamboard is cheap and very forgiving. So just go for it man.

On my first couple builds i straight up cookie cutter copied individual parts form planes. A wing here, tail feathers, etc.
Than i grabbed some balsa plans and took those parts and adjusted them to fit in inkscape. Really fun hobby.


Bounty Hunter
How to get the wing area in Inkscape.

First off why would you need this? If you are doing a normal wing this probably isnt too helpful, just go into a calculator on line and input root chord, tip chord, sweep, etc and it will kick it out or simply multiply HxW if your wing is rectangular. But where this is helpful especially is when you are doing a flying or delta wing and for CG issues you make a big cutout in the back to move up your motor.

First off select your shape and Path -> object to path
Make sure your object is selected and Extensions -> Visualize Path -> Measure Path

Adjust the box as follows or to whatever measurements you work with. One thing that confused me a ton at first was that the output is super small and in the bottom left corner of the shape. In this pic i have bumped the font up to 40 and it is still hard to see. Now this wing is 90" wide so on smaller plane this may not be an issue. If you cant find it, hit control-A to select all objects and look around.
Once you have the output selected (and nothing else) hold down control and grab a corner to make it readable as in the first picture above.
Just curious, how do people get it so you can paint without going outside the borders? Does Inkscape have a way to put each into it's own layer?
As long as your shape is closed the color will not flow outside the border. You can then set the stroke color of the border to white to make it hidden. There are layers as well. There is a floating panel you can add to the right side to see them.