Qcad question about freehand

After trying Fusion 360 a bit I decided it is a more complex tool than I’ll need and elected to learn Qcad. So far I’m getting along with it pretty well, however I have a question that I’ve not found the answer to regarding the freehand drawing tool.

I have been playing with this to trace over an imported line art image to convert it to a cuttable file. Inevitably my traced curves are not as smooth as I’d like. Is there a line smoothing function or something like that buried in Qcad somewhere?

Download Inkscape and import the image and use trace bitmap edge detection to trace then save trace as a dxf that you can edit in QCAD.

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I’ll give that a try. Thankyou

There’s lots of videos on how to use Inkscape. Inkscape and QCAD is what I use along with Affinity Designer. Just depends on what I start with and where I want to go with it.

Post the image you’re talking about trying to do and I’ll show you exactly how to do it in Fusion 360
in a straightforward way.

I also almost gave up on Fusion 360 at one point.

What I’ve come to realize is that the trajectory that Fusion 360s on is going to make them the number one tool for taking ideas and making machines cut or bend or turn or machine them. Even in the few years since I’ve switched from SketchUp to Fusion 360 it is evolved so much. And the amount of adoption for the software across the board in manufacturing is pretty huge.

The biggest point about Fusion 360 is it blurs the lines between CAM and CAM. Being able to almost do the entire workflow besides a few art elements within one software ecosystem is a huge benefit.

I can see Fusion 360 introducing a new workspace in the next few years that will start taking the place of even the machine operation aspect of the software, essentially taking the place of Mach 3 or fire control. This is just pure speculation on my part. I think it would be possible even now. You can fully model a machine and it’s electronics virtually and have that virtual machine cnc parts there’s no reason they couldn’t apply that to running an actual machine.

If you do post a picture though I’ll live stream it on twitch going through the process using Fusion 360.


Why bother? If just looking to do an art sign, no reason to go from Inkscape to Qcad to DXF to Sheetcam to Crossfire. Just take care of all the editing in Inkscape, save as an SVG (smoother curves than DXF), import that into Sheetcam and create the GCode.

2D & 3D CAD programs can be overkill for someone looking to do signs and flat art pieces - an art program like Inkscape is better suited.


I can’t leave anything alone and have to tweak here and there and CAD is my go to for that…

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Thanks for the multiple replies. I’m going to try responding to more than one of you in one post.

Regarding using Inkscape. I had downloaded that previously, but had not really played with it. What I’m working with as an input is a JPEG image of some line art of a mother and child :

I attempted to use the edge detect and got an image that I saved as an SVG to convert to a TAP file in Sheetcam, However I must have not had the white level detection set correctly. The image LOOKED ok in Sheetcam, but the TAP file had the table jumping all over rather than smoothly tracing the lines.

@ Tin Whisperer I appreciate your input and offer AND your enthusiasm, but I am just an old dog, with an old mind that needs simple tools. Also, if your prediction they they’ll be rapidly updating Fusion 360 is correct, that would drive me NUTS. Few things are more frustrating to me in the world of computers than to have someone ‘improve’ a program so that tools and familiar ways of doing things get changed or lost in the improved version. So, for now, I’m inclined to stick with the, admittedly less integrated approach of using a few simpler tools.

FWIW, I decided to buy my table to make relatively simple items for steel fabrication (welding gussets & brackets - that sort of stuff) and have become interested in playing with some 2D art. That’s why my question came up.

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Image traces are rarely usable straight from the trace, especially with a low-res picture like the one you had. You’ll need to clean up the vectors a bit. The first thing to do is change the view to the outline mode so you can see if any lines were doubled up - they’ll be darker. You can zoom in and delete those. Then select everything and use the join command to join line segments together - I usually use a 0.1mm tolerance (any points less than that apart will be joined). Then use the simplify tool to clean up excess nodes. You can also apply smoothing and that will clean up the nodes as well.

Any time you select something with the point tool you’ll see all the nodes - those indicate a change in direction in the GCode and thus the table. You’ll usually see an enormous difference in the number of nodes between the original trace and after you use the simplify tool. You can overdo simplify and cause it to visibly alter the design. If it does, you can simply Ctrl+Z and undo the last simplify operation.

When you save the SVG use standard SVG and not the Inkscape SVG option. There’s a bit of extra stuff in the Inkscape version that’s not needed by Sheetcam.


I think I’ll have a window after dinner to run through this on Fusion 360 on the live stream.

6:30-7:00 mst estimated start time.

The stream will be available for 7 days

@oldsubsailor roughly what size were you thinking for the finished project.?

Here is the files from the video .

I hope this helps out.

mother example 1 v1.f3d (1.0 MB)

mother example 1.dxf (274.3 KB)


Can t sleep so I am going to do a second video with some “freehand” single lines instead so a much smaller version may be made.

315am mst

Here is a single line version “freehand” drawn in fusion 360.

This time Only Fusion 360 was used start to finish

mother line drawing.dxf (141.9 KB)
mother line draw 1 v2.f3d (738.0 KB)


Hi again - I’ve been offline today and will be most if not all of tomorrow with family activites (grandkids will do that for you!) …BUT I did have time to watch both of the videos and must say that the capabilities of FUSION and your ability to utilize it are equally impressive. The ability to simulate cutting is especially intriguing if the results on the table are really represented in the simulation. I genuinely thank you for taking over an hour of your time to make and post these.

I may (MAY) reconsider my decision to back away from using Fusion 360 but before I do that I want to explore the point to point curve drawing tool in Qcad and I am intrigued by the Convertio program you demonstrated in the first video. As I’ve waded into the whole subject of CNC for my table I’ve seen Convertio mentioned but it’s on a list of things I’ve not even looked at.

FWIW I have a niece who’s expecting a daughter later this year and I’m going to try to use the files you uploaded to make her a gift with them.

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I may have misunderstood. I thought at one point you uploaded an SVG file of your work. I see and have downloaded the DXF but don’t see an SVG file anywhere.

You’re Welcome. Hopefully a some of my time saves others much of their time.

it is hard to see

here is a svg for the line version too. (its hard to see but its below this line )
here is a svg for the line version too. (its hard to see but its above this line)
you may have to right click and save as even if you cant see it .