Grids and Guides – An ideas book for makers, engineers, and creative types of all stripes

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a versatile combo of 1/2-, 1/4- and 1/16-inch grids


Wouldn’t it be more useful to have the grids as e.g. a PDF file or a bitmap, to be parametrically generated and printed on demand?

The inch stuff is handy for e.g. circuitboards, with through-hole parts.


oh man now you are going to make me really have to dig through my archives. I used to have a collection of adobe illustrator files with parametrized grids: a hex grid, a square grid and a logarithmic grid. I.e. you could say how big you wanted the cell, or the scale of the log, and it would repeat across the entire page (you set the page size) and print thin dotted or black or gray gridlines. As much graph paper as you want. If I find them, I will gladly package them and send.


I think we need more something along the lines of a python or javascript script to generate them in sizes and scales on demand.

Some printers have the ability to print out things like this. Any could be converted to such with a raspi-based printserver, with buttons to print predefined sheets.

I had good success, when I needed a calibration thingy, with printing “+” characters in absolutely defined positions via HTML and CSS positioning.

I liked the vectorness of the .ai files, but we could probably do something vectory in python

I had some success with using lines in HTML/CSS by fooling with borders on absolutely sized/positioned/rotated DIV objects. But it is kludgy and on Firefox the positioning seemed to be jittery.

I had a fail with SVG when trying to get the files printed in exact 1:1 setting. The browsers and even Inkscape insisted on scaling them. Maybe I did something wrong but it ate a whole night of putzing around with no good result.

My now favored workflow uses generating MVG files for ImageMagick, then processing them to bitmaps. (You could go directly to the bitmap via the ImageMagick C or Python or whatever binding, but the MVG file gives you additional postprocessing options.) A bitmap image will print on a properly calibrated printer via the DPI scaling factor with beyond-caliper-resolution accuracy.
With proper abstraction, the same code could be used for generating DXF files for vector cutting, too.

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