8 Replies Latest reply on Dec 31, 2012 6:33 PM by Califf Chris


    john brace

      hi all

      let me explain i bought sw 2010 when i designed machines upgrade from 2007

      but that work has gone tits up so im left with a some good software ie2010

      im now using sw to program my cnc machines in dxf

      and was never shown how to work in 2d but im learning as i cannot afford new software

      so in some cad programs they can nest you draw one and want to cut out ten

      it puts it in the most economical way to cut out on a machine

      and simple question is can you nest in solidworks

      thanks john

        • Re: nesting
          Scott McFadden

          Hi John,

          If you are talking about what I think you are, you can insert a part into another

          part so if the base part changes it is reflected in the part it gets inserted into.


          Simple example.  Part A and B.  Insert part A into B.  If part A changes the changes

          are relected in part B.  But if you change part B those changes donot reflect back to A.


          Is this kind of what you are looking for?  Sort of like  casting to a machined part.

          • Re: nesting
            Nick Goodrum

            I believe you are talking about a way to "layout" parts on a flat sheet for an operation such as water jetting in a manner to get the least amount of material waste.


            The answer is no. Without an add on (not sure if there is one) you cannot automatically nest parts on a sheet in solidworks.




            • Re: nesting
              Lenny Bucholz

              you can nest using assemblies, but it is not automated in SW.


              there are add in softwares to run inside SW and standalone softwares out there that do this as well as some CAM software that have add ons that do this automatic for 2d dwgs or dxfs.


              just do a web search.

              • Re: nesting
                John Stoltzfus

                Good morning John,


                There may be someone that has an older version of a nesting program that they would either give to you or sell it cheap.  I have already used SW to do a preliminary nesting using the assembly features to see what the yields were, to see if I needed to re-design a part to get more parts per sheet stock. 


                When I read this; I was wondering if you can load up the dxf files from your computer directly to the cnc, (certainly there are a lot of experts here on site to correct me, as I really don't know, just a thought).  If you could load the dxf file, directly to the cnc controller without using a nesting program, then I would try to nest the components in an assembly and then drop & drag the top or front view into a blank drawing, then save it as a dxf file.  I think you would need to connect each part with a very small tab such as a stencil, because the entire job would have to be treated as a single part. 


                If you don't understand what I mean upload a flat layout of your part with the stock sheet size and I will try to help you, however first of all you need to find out if you can load the dxf file directly into the cnc. 


                Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think not only does the nesting program nest the parts to be cut/formed it also changes the file extension to what ever the cnc machine is.





                • Re: nesting
                  Charles Warren


                  There is no inherent nesting function in Solidworks, however what I do occasionally is pattern the part in X and Y in an assembly and then export the drawing of that assembly as a DXF and pipe it through your CAM program of choice to get the G-code for your machine tool.  Rather than deal; directly with the 2D sketches, I extrude them to the thickness of the stock I am using.


                  Obviously this does not deal with complex shapes such as, for example, silouettes of birds in flight which would need to be arbitrarily rotated individually to fit closely together and maximize use of the stock.  My workaround for that is to manually nest a number of individual parts into something close to a square, and then pattern that as a sub-assembly...gets me close enough.


                  I just do a profile operation in my CAM software (various flavors of Bobcad, or the Bobcam plugin inside solidworks), making sure I'm correctly specifying a cut on the outside of the line so my part isn't reduced by 1 or 1/2 cutter diameter (which is what you get if you profile inside the line, or on the line).


                  Hope that helps, happy to look at a specific part and work an example if you need.  Best of luck,


                  • Re: nesting
                    Mark Greenwell

                    Hi John


                    If you wanted to directly nest / and burn within SolidWorks then you would need to purchase SolidNest by SolidTek.


                    This allows you to take a flat SolidWorks part part and nest it into a 3D nest and create NC code to burn it.


                    You could also use what we use (SigmaNest) by the same company, here you can take a 3D part and import into sigmaNest as 2D and place on a 2D nest, then create  burning NC.


                    Don't know how much Solidnest is but SigmaNest aint cheap. There are a few dedicated nesting pieces of software out there but as I have said they aint cheap.


                    If you just want a visualization of a nest then do as others have said and place components onto a dummy plate (nest) in an assembly and create a drawing of this.





                    • Re: nesting
                      Michael Lord



                      The advice above is all good. 


                      For our CNC work, we design in SolidWorks (cabinets) & save the dxf.  We find it easier to manually nest as we do some additional tools path. 

                      We do this in DraftSight http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/free-cad-software/ free 2D CAD software


                      We find this easier to bring into our tooling software (Enroute)


                      This is a typical layout.


                      • Re: nesting
                        Califf Chris

                        Check out Pathfinder3D. It Automatically lays the parts down flat and creates layered DXF files for CAM systems. It also allows you to add custom machining. This keeps a solid connection between your 3D parts and the Gcode at the machine level. If you have to export to a dwg editor to nest, then when changes are made in the original 3d model it isn't easy to update - you have export again, or just change the 2d.