HPGL2DXF

Most recent release: April 2003:

Added batch conversion capability, sponsored by Grasso.

The archive hpgl2dxf.zip contains the utility (just one executable file!) that can be used to convert HPGL and HPGL2 plotfiles to the AutoCAD DXF (drawing exchange format). It may be useful occasionally as disaster-recovery when you have lost the original CAD drawing, but still have a plotfile. I do not recommend this type of conversion for the regular exchange of graphical data between systems.


Status:

Alpha/beta (never ready...)

This is not a commercial program. I made it just as an exercise to see what I could do with Borland's C++ Builder. It's based on a conversiontool that I made many years ago - then only for DOS and only HPGL. As HPGL2 is a pretty complex plotting language (as some plotter/printer manufacturers other than HP may have found out...), I am not 100 % sure about a fully correct HPGL2 interpretation. It is not complete either; I only implemented the most used HPGL2 commands and I intentionally left out interpretation of some commands that could not easily be translated to DXF equivalents, including raster. But the program works as it is with most HPGL2 files that I collected for testing, produced by popular CAD programs like AutoCAD, Microstation and Arkey (a Dutch program, very popular with architects).

You may use this tool at your own risk. You are not allowed to make money by selling this program. NOBODY (but myself) has distribution rights. The only places where you should be able to find it is where I placed it for download (http://www.noliturbare.com).


Limitations:

Interpretation. No raster data (RTL) (this would be technically impossible to directly convert to DXF anyway); no solid (or other) fills (all closed HPGL2 polygons that are found in the plotfile are converted to closed polylines and placed in a separate layer named "mysolids", so if you want to fill, you can easily do this afterwards); no fractional data in the PE command (I have never seen those used!)

DXF output. Produces AutoCAD release 12 style DXF (compatible with most programs that can import/read DXF, including AutoCAD 2000 and 2000i). The standard (.shx) font is used for textlabels (not used in AutoCAD plots, so only relevant for plots from some other CAD systems).

Quality: Remember that a plotfile is produced by a piece of software (the plotterdriver), that is designed to get images on paper that look (as much as possible) like the CAD users intend them to look when they decide to plot their work. In the output only the printed quality is important. The plotfile is not meant or optimized to be used for the exchange of graphical data between systems, or to re-import it in the system that generated it. Some of the graphics will be produced with "pretty primitive primitives", meaning you will have to edit (replace) these graphics in the converted drawing. You will also miss a layer structure (although I attempt to get at least some layerstructure, based on the pennumbers), blocks, editable text, and so on.


Installation:

Simply place the executable in a new program folder (the program can even be run from a diskette) and make a shortcut. Double click on its icon to start it.


Use:

Select th HPGL(2) plotfiles with the "select" button, or drop the files from the explorer on the programs form. Hit the "convert" button to start converting.


Note:

This program does NOT write in the Windows registry, nor does it place hidden or other "secret" files anywhere on your system. The only files it writes during operation are 1. an .ini file in the program's directory to store the settings 2. the DXF-files at the location that you have set under "Config".


Support:

None, but your comments are always very welcome (use "Contact" on my "FAQ and More" page). If you want something special, let me know and I'll think about it.


Govert