Thing-a-Day 2011 #6 - Hershey Fonts in SVG

This post used to be on Posterous. I rescued my posts before Posterous shut down and am now sharing them here.

I just posted these guys over on Thingiverse!

Making text for Unicorn plots isn't always a fun process. Most tools (even my Inkscape plugin) require you to convert text into paths, and even then you get the outlines of shapes, which can often turn messy at small sizes.

mifga pointed me towards the Hershey fonts. They’re a set of fonts for vector plotters named after creator Dr. A. V. Hershey who made them for the U.S. National Bureau of Standards.

These files are in a weird, weird, format. But after some normalizing, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, I was able to write some code to parse them and spit them back out as SVG! Now you can use these fonts in your Unicorn drawings.

Hooray-math Music

To use these in Unicorn plots, you’ll want to grab my Unicorn G-Code extension for Inkscape.


To use these fonts in your Unicorn plots:

  1. Download the SVG file containing the font of your choice, or grab the whole to get them all.
  2. In your Inkscape drawing, use File | Import to load the font you want
  3. Drag around and duplicate the characters that you want to use.
  4. Delete the ones that you don’t.
  5. Save your file and Save a Copy to get your .gcode!