Join Gabriel Corbett for an in-depth discussion in this video Export to DXF/DWG 1:1, part of SOLIDWORKS: Tips & Tricks.
- [Instructor] Anytime you're working with sheet metal parts or plate or anything you're going to laser cut, water jet, plasma cut, or any other flat cutting process, even die-cutting, more than likely you're probably going to need either a DWG or a DXF file scaled 1:1. We don't want things coming back the wrong size or half size or double size. We want to make sure everything's scaled correctly and that's scaled 1:1. And we have to also make sure we're saving out the files correctly, so that those machines can import them in and you can get the right parts back.
So let me show you how to do that. We have a couple different ways. First things first, if you have a part that looks like this, very simple, simple geometry, and if I click on the top surface if that surface there is exactly what you want to be cut you're in luck, 'cause we can save that file out directly from SOLIDWORKS without actually even going to a drawing. So right-click on that face, come over here to Export DXF/DWG and you should get a window that pops up. Now my window popped up over here, let me just go ahead and just drag that back over to the screen so you can see it. Here is where I want to save it out to and notice it gives me the option for a DXF file.
I can also come down here and choose a DWG file. So either one of them will work. The file size might be a little bit different between the two, but generally DXF is probably a better choice, 'cause it's more universal. But generally either one will probably work. Once you click on that click on Save. Over here it's saying I'd like to export that face. I can output an alignment option if I'd like to or just go ahead and click on OK and it should give you a representation of what it's actually going to save out. And that's pretty much exactly what we need, so click on Save.
But prior to that if you did have something there that you didn't want you can always come over here to Remove Entities. So you can come back and edit that file if you want to. But if everything looks good click on Save and now we've saved that file to our file system, wherever we happened to place that, and we're ready to go. We can send that file now to whoever's going to process this part via laser or water jet or whatever type of machine they have. Now the next process is a little bit more complicated. So we need to actually make a drawing of this part. To do that go up here to File, New, or just come over here and click on the part itself, click on it and say Open Drawing if you already have a drawing.
More than likely you might not. Of course, we have other ways we can do that as well. My favorite generally is come over here and say Make Drawing from Part. Click on that one and I'm going to choose the Drawing here, click on OK, and it should fire up a brand new drawing. Now the first view you're going to bring in is maybe like a front view. This is our standard drawing. We actually get a couple dimensions here, but this page really doesn't matter to us. We actually want a page that has nothing on it, we want a blank page. Now we can eliminate the title block on this page if you'd like to, but generally it's a good idea to kind of leave a dimension drawing on page one and then create a new page.
Click on this one over here. If it can't find the sheet format that's OK, because I'm going to turn it off anyway. So click over here and turn off Display sheet format. Now come over here and click on Custom size. I'm going to type in something like 12 inches. And this is important, because you want to make sure that you actually make a sheet that is the size of your part or a little bit bigger than your part. So if your part is three feet long make your sheet a little bit bigger than three feet. But you generally want to think about how you're going to lay these things out on a standard sheet of material.
So maybe your sheet is a four foot by eight foot sheet, so you want to type in some kind of values here for the Width and Height that represent a sheet of material or a section of a sheet. Maybe it's a 12 by 12 sheet and you can put a lot of parts on there. But keep it a multiple of a standard piece of material you might buy. OK, now click on OK. It says if the file path's not perfect, that's OK. Click OK and now we have a blank sheet, here it is. So go over here, view options, Model View, I want this one right here, so click over there, and now I can just drop that onto my blank sheet.
Now, of course, we want to make sure this is the right scale. So if you bring this down here you can see Use sheet scale or you can say Use custom scale. So I like to Use sheet scale. And then right-click anywhere in the white area here and come over here to Properties. Now here are the Sheet Properties and I want to make sure this says 1:1, very important, otherwise your part is just going to show up at the right size. Now notice down here under sheet size it did change. Well, sometimes that is a glitch inside of SOLIDWORKS or if it can't find the sheet size you might be looking for, you might have to come back and change that one more time, so keep that in mind.
Click on Apply Changes. Notice the sheet size did change and I can place this part wherever I like on that sheet. Now we're ready to save this thing out to the file system. But before we do that, of course, click on this again, I want to always double-check one more time, hey, does that say 1:1? Am I using sheet scale? Yes, because it's very easy to overlook that, send out the parts, and they come back the wrong size. All right, don't do that. Anyways, once you have it go over here to File, Save As, come over here, I'm going to close this up.
So I'm going to save this thing not as a SOLIDWORKS drawing, but come over here to DXF or DWG, your choice. Now we have the options right here, if I click on that, of how you like to save this out. Now you have a bunch of versions. Don't use the latest one. Sometimes this 2000 to 2002 is one that really works. But sometimes if people are using older software that maybe the laser cutter or the water jet company is using some older machines, they might not be able to process or use these latest file types, so generally saving to the earlier file types like R12 or something like that will always work.
So don't always go to the latest one. And at my recommendation, which is kind of a universal one that pretty much works all the time, is 2000 2002, I like that one the most generally. And then come down here and make sure we're exporting only the active sheet. You have the option to export as splines or polylines, I generally like to keep that as splines. And then once you have it all set up click on OK. Now we've already saved it one time earlier, so let's go ahead and just append a, click on No, and I'll say let's make that a -1, so we have two different versions.
Click on Save. Now we've saved out a DWG and a DXF file two different ways. The first one's obviously quite a bit easier and it's great if you have a part that's very simple and you want to do that, but sometimes it's also handy to have that 1:1 sheet in your drawing showing what the part will look like at the end of the day and it also makes it very easy to save that out from there. So either way works, but make sure you do save that 1:1, so your parts come out the right size.
Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.