The built-in SVG support in our Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software is one of our most popular features. This feature empowers users of all levels to machine parts quickly and easily.
In this guide we’ll cover:
- What SVGs are and how they compare to raster images
- What SVGs are made of
- Why SVGs are useful for milling operations
Scalable vector graphics (SVG) is a common vector image file format. Unlike raster image files (like .jpg, .gif, and .png) that store images in grids of colored pixels, SVG files store image information as lines and shapes. As a result, SVGs have a unique advantage over raster graphics because the points, lines, and curves they contain can be scaled up or down to any resolution. So they can be scaled to any size and still look perfectly sharp, unlike raster images, which may look fuzzy and pixelated when scaled.
The smiley face image on the left is a raster image. When enlarged, individual pixels appear as squares. When displayed on a computer monitor, the image is constructed by the individual values of red, green and blue in each pixel. But with the SVG file, on the right, the elements can be scaled without becoming fuzzy.
Because SVG files (.svg) store shapes instead of pixels, the Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software can turn the shapes into toolpaths, which you can then mill on the Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine. The Bantam Tools software interprets these shapes as fills (engravings) and strokes (cutouts).
The shapes stored in your SVG are defined by points (or nodes) on a Cartesian plane (an X,Y graph). These points are connected by lines and curves to form shapes—also referred to as paths. In the example below, the paths take the shape of a jaguar. The inside shape of the jaguar is considered the fill and the outline is considered the stroke.
SVGs scale smoothly because they are made of math. Think of each point or node on the Cartesian plane as a specific location on a graph. When you resize the SVG from 1 inch to 3 inches, the computer recalculates the math inside the SVG, relocates the points locations according to the new SVG size, and in turn redraws the paths.
Let’s take a closer look at how this is done. This example is giving instructions to draw a line. The Cartesian plane here is 175 x 175 pixels, each green line is 25 pixels. The top left corner's X, Y location is 0,0. X is the horizontal axis Y is the vertical axis.
So now if we wanted to make an X, the code (mathematical instructions) would look like this.
When you save an SVG and import the file into the Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software these are the instructions our software reads to tell the Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine how to cut your design. In other words, our Bantam Tools software reads the instructions and the figures out the best way to cut your part. Pretty cool, right?
Why is this useful?
Simple vector drawings like SVG files are a great starting point for learning how to mill basic parts on the Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling without learning how to design parts in CAD and program CAM. The Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software’s SVG file support is useful for milling 2D shapes for jewelry, stencils, and other design elements, milling multi-level shapes for 2.5D projects like molds and simple mechanical parts.
Head over to our Classic & Advanced SVG Workflow support guide to learn more about how to design SVGs of your own and how to use them with the Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine and the Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software. If you want to start milling, see our project guides: