Register now to get rid of these ads!

How do you create a DXF file for a CNC?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Curt Six, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 887

    Curt Six

    There's a piece that I need that a local shop is going to cut on a CNC. I drew the outline to scale in Adobe Illustrator and saved it as an EPS file (a vector file) - it's a flat piece that's being cut, so no other dimensions are necessary. The guy cutting it needs a DXF file to cut from. How can I create a DXF file? Can it be exported as a DXF from one of the normal design programs (Illustrator, Photoshop, In Design, etc.) or do I need some special CAD software to do it?

    If it has to be created on some CAD software, is there someone that can create the file for me? I can email the EPS file and I'd be willing to pay you for your time. Thanks.
  2. To my knowledge, It has to be a cad type format to place into DXF (drawing exchange format) If its not terribly complicated, I'd be happy to draw it into DXF format for you... Once you get the hang of this crap its amazing what you can do ... I use it to cut gears !
  3. Andy P
    Joined: Oct 1, 2004
    Posts: 27

    Andy P
    from UK

    A DXF file is created in Autocad, though I'm sure other cad packages can also produce this format. My local CNC laser cutting shop will only accept work in this format, as it means they don't have to manually program the machine, saving them a load of time.

    Andy P.
  4. Justin415
    Joined: Feb 9, 2004
    Posts: 91


    Have you tried using this ( companies free CAD software? Can't remember if it will save as DXF or some other exportable/transferable file type. I know it was really easy to use, may be worth a try for extraxting a different file type.

  5. colorado51
    Joined: Feb 24, 2003
    Posts: 1,577


    DXF is just 2D, usually the shops I deal with want a 3D IGS or STEP file. [​IMG]

    Anyway, I know a couple other guys have already offered, but if you want to send it to me I can convert it for ya also.
  6. CaseyK
    Joined: Jan 27, 2004
    Posts: 386


    If you have Illustrator 9 or newer, you can export a DXF.
    Send it to me if you haven't already sent it to one of the other guys. It will take about 3 seconds to export it. [​IMG]

  7. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 887

    Curt Six

    Thanks a lot for all of the help. After reading Nashman's post I grabbed a copy of Illustrator 9 from my office (I have 8 at home) and was able to create the DXF. Hopefully it will work at the shop - if not some of you will be getting an email from me. [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all the responses.
  8. Spitfire1776
    Joined: Jan 7, 2004
    Posts: 1,069

    from York, PA

    Or I could do for you in Microstation and save as DXF. I used to do water-jet programming and CNC. It uses a mediator program to interpret the DXF into its familiar format. You might want to find out if another format might work better for them. Sometimes DXF's have a hard time relating.
  9. Darby
    Joined: Sep 12, 2004
    Posts: 426


    If you haven't already done this, it's always a good idea to check the translation if you haven't done it before or are using a new software. You can check either by opening up the dxf file in a CAD program and measuring a couple dimensions electronically or printing out the drawing at 100% scale on a printer or plotter and measuring a hole or something with a pair of calipers.

    If any of the drawing scales or conversion settings are not-what-you expected, you can get a dxf that doesn't match what you started with. I sent a drawing to a laser cutting shop once and got a concerned call later in the day- I'd exported the part at 4x scale!!! They'd made the part before and recognized what was up, but that was lucky- I could have ended up with a 400 pound flange that wouldn't fit in my truck [​IMG]!!!
  10. Curt,
    I'm running the most bastard of platforms at my house-a Macintosh. I have the equivalent of Illustrator 10, and I can save out as a DXF or DWG file (this anly allows 2D files, of course).

    Illustrator 10 and all prevoius versions will allow this exporting of files. This compatibility from Mac platform to guys who have cut parts for me makes me think two things.

    Be sure to "export" the file, and not just "save" it. The export detail will propagate 4 or 5 different varieties different from standerd EPS, AI, or PSD files.

    Second, since the DXF and DWG files are fully compatible with AutoCad, and most running CNC cutters, you can shop for one that is willing to accept these. operators will claim they "need" a different file, but DXF and DWG are universally accepted.

    Good luck.

  11. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 887

    Curt Six

    Ok, I just dropped the file off at the machine shop and the guy just called back and said that he needed a DXF 12 file (I exported from Illustrator to a DXF). I asked him if there were any other specifics I needed to know about, and he said that anyone who knows what they're doing will know what that means.

    So does it make sense that he wouldn't have been able to open my file? I'm going to email the eps to a couple of you guys that said you could help me out...let me know what you think.
  12. Sounds to me like he's either giving you the run-around, or doesn't know exactly what he needs. DXF is DXF is DXF. We use it every day at work, unless he's getting really picky and is referring ti the number of significant digits.

    Significant digits meaning .000000000001 accuracy for 12 significant digits, and in that case, WTF?
  13. Zodoff
    Joined: Aug 9, 2002
    Posts: 525


    If he cant use,or open a regular dxf file,Im not sure I would have work done by him... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  14. If you're still stuck - send me the file. I've Illustrator 10 here, and draw all day with Ashlar Vellum on the Mac, which can export back to DXF 12. Autocad change their format with each release (forces all they're users to upgrade...)
    It's raining all day tomorrow, so it's not like I can work on the car outside! Well - maybe just change the waterpump. Again.
  15. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 887

    Curt Six

    Cool...I'm going to send it now.
  16. Curt Six
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 887

    Curt Six

    Monkeybiker...there's no email address in your profile. Can you send me your address to Thanks!

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.