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dxf drawings

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duncan webster13/01/2019 23:41:38
3508 forum posts
63 photos

I've just drawn up some bits for laser cutting and sent them off for a quote. The company couldn't read my .dwg and asked for .dxf. I find that there are no less than 16 types of dxf available (on Draftsight) ranging from R12 binary to R2013 ascii. Anyone like to explain the difference and suggest a good general purpose dxf that most people will be able to read/import

John McNamara13/01/2019 23:59:32
1314 forum posts
113 photos

Hi Duncan

Most laser cutters will have a specification for the file type and format they prefer.

All a laser cutter wants is a flat. No 3D file. on one layer without text. (some laser cutters will burn text into the parts for identification, ask if you want that done.)

The main thing is that all outlines on you drawing are perfectly closed at the ends without gaps or little tails..

Release 12 was an early version of Autocad. Nearly all software can read it so try that. A DXF file is a human readable, with difficulty, text file.


Edited By John McNamara on 14/01/2019 00:01:28

Ian P14/01/2019 07:42:01
2524 forum posts
102 photos

Duncan, As John says the AutoCad R12 DXF is the one to go for.

Definitely best to create a separate DXF file for each part you want cutting. On my main drawing (2D) I might have several different items that I want laser cutting. What I do is copy and paste the parts to be cut into new drawings, I then simplify and delete all dimensions and text etc so that the only objects left are all one one layer. I then save that as DXF.

Not advertising, but I have had a truly excellent service from which has an automatic online quoting system. Which laser cutting company are you getting your quote from? (I'm interested to know what the minimum order cost is)

Ian P

JasonB14/01/2019 07:48:00
21435 forum posts
2448 photos
1 articles

Also best to let them know the overall size and what units of measure you used as you may get a small part if drawn in imperial and their machine reads it as metric.

John McNamara14/01/2019 08:23:24
1314 forum posts
113 photos

Good point Jason re specifying the units used. I use Metric one drawing unit to 1mm no scaling.

Most laser cutters have a "set up" charge This can make a single part more expensive. It can be cheaper to order a thicker than you need part so that it is part of a bigger group.

Laser cutters are pretty busy businesses, If you provide good files you will be charged as a professional. Just email your requirements and the file set in a Zip file and most will reply with a quote in a day or two. (A separate zip file should be used for each material type and thickness. this avoids confusion)


Paul Lousick14/01/2019 08:25:21
1854 forum posts
661 photos

I normally send a drawing in pdf format along with the dxf file so the supplier knows exactly what you want.


John Hinkley14/01/2019 10:09:49
1184 forum posts
391 photos

Duncan, I have sent you a PM.


Ian P14/01/2019 10:18:49
2524 forum posts
102 photos
Posted by Paul Lousick on 14/01/2019 08:25:21:

I normally send a drawing in pdf format along with the dxf file so the supplier knows exactly what you want.


The online quoting and ordering company I mentioned would probably never see the PDF, in fact I think the whole process is automated and I imagine if anybody looks at the files it would be the machine operator.

With my first order an the system must have flagged up as something being wrong as engineer contacted me to guide me through some details to clarify some inconsistencies in material and quantities I had not entered correctly.

Ian P

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