If you're like me and have been looking everywhere for a way to use one of these vinyl cutters (works for other types of vinyl cutters, too), this is the place! Thanks to this extension called InkCut for Inkscape, you can output directly to the cutter. No more Windows and that SignBlazer junk the cutter came with!
1) First, you will need Inkscape 0.47 or higher for the extension to work. This is what comes with Ubuntu 10.04, which is what I tested this on. You can get it from here; I also have it attached to this post just in case. Go to where you downloaded the file, right-click, and Extract Here.
2) You should get an InkCut-1.0 folder. Open that folder, and select both the inkcutext1.inx and inkcut folder, and copy them to /home/yourusername/.config/inkscape/extensions. This installs the extension so it will be available in Inkscape.
3) Connect the vinyl cutter. I used USB on a USCutter Refine MH1351. The USB port on the cutter is really just a serial port emulator, but fortunately, the driver is preinstalled in the kernel. If you want to make sure it connected, just run:
You should see something like:
Now we know that it is connected as /dev/ttyUSB0. I never had to do anything with this, but now you know just in case.
[ 4723.116132] usb 2-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 5
[ 4723.312345] usb 2-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[ 4723.321355] ftdi_sio 2-1:1.0: FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected
[ 4723.321502] usb 2-1: Detected FT232RL
[ 4723.321518] usb 2-1: Number of endpoints 2
[ 4723.321533] usb 2-1: Endpoint 1 MaxPacketSize 64
[ 4723.321548] usb 2-1: Endpoint 2 MaxPacketSize 64
[ 4723.321562] usb 2-1: Setting MaxPacketSize 64
[ 4723.322254] usb 2-1: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0
4) Now for the fun! Go into Inkscape, open some file you want to try cutting (maybe make a star if you don't have anything). Be sure to change all objects to paths. Start by ungrouping everything. Then select everything and go to Path > Object to path. Now select everything and go to Path > Union. Now you have a single path that's ready to cut!
5) Select your new path, and go to Extensions > Cutter / Plotter > InkCut. For me, all the defaults were fine -- I didn't have to mess with the properties at all. It didn't show anything for device, but don't worry, it still works. If you are having trouble, you can go to the Properties button, I had "Serial" for the interface, and then expand the Serial tree and the port should be what was listed in step 3 on the output (/dev/ttyUSB0 for me). If you hit "Test Connection" the vinyl should move.
6) You can make any adjustments you need to the material size/margins, but in general you can just go for testing purposes. Hit the "Plot Paths" button and then "Send". It should cut it out. Woohoo!
I imagine this can be adapted for other cutters, but I know for this model I didn't find anything indicating any hope for Linux, so here it is. Enjoy!