3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 19, 2011 7:42 PM by Chris Atkin

    Export DXF as vectors?

    Daniel A

      I have some Electronics enclosures that have been designed in Solidworks. The artwork (just some lines and text, nothing complicated) has also been designed in Solidworks in order to align it correctly with the part. I have exported the face/view of the part containing the artwork as a DXF. When I gave the DXF file to the company who will be printing the artwork they said it opens up in a raster format not vector. They need the artwork in a vector format. Is there a way I can export the DXF in vector format?


      Currently the way I was producing the DXF was to do the sketch of the artwork on the face where I want it, then extrude the sketch by 0.1mm. I then view as wireframe and export to DXF from that view. I have also tried exporting the DXF from a solidworks drawing of the part. Would it be better not to extrude the artwork and just export the DXF from the sketch? Are there any specific export options that should be set? Also I see there are several versions of DXF formats that can be exported and I have no idea what the differences are.


      Ideally the printing company would like EPS files but solidworks cannot export that format.

        • Re: Export DXF as vectors?
          Ryan Brumund

          I wouldn't think that it would matter where you export the DXF from as long as your view orientation is good.  As far as the choices of settings, I think they are just different itterations of the AutoCAD file formats.  You could try running through them to see if one of the formats ends up as "Vector" but I wouldn't hold out much hope.


          You could try exporting as a PDF.  Some vendors will work off of that.  Check out this fomer post on ensuring the PDF ends up in a "Vector" format.  https://forum.solidworks.com/message/71192#71192


          If the Vendor you are working with won't take a PDF, there is a program called InkScape (http://inkscape.org/).  It is essentially an Open Source (free!) equivalent to Adobe Illustrator.  It has the ability to open a variety of formats (including DXF) and save them as Vector Images.  I haven't used it with the DXF route before, but I have used it to convert bitmap files to vector formats.


          Hope this helps.

            • Re: Export DXF as vectors?
              Daniel A

              Thanks Ryan,


              The vendor I am using say they will accept PDFs as long as they're in vector format. I will try the suggestions outlined in the thread you have shared. Will also try downloading inkscape to play with as well.

                • Re: Export DXF as vectors?
                  Chris Atkin

                  hey this is old, but i just figured this out myself.  I have a similar problems with out printers for our lebels and inlays.  It works with both solids and sketches.



                  This may a bit late for you, but i thought i would post this hopeing it might help at least someone else.  I find solidworks is really great for design labels and inlays for our equipment, but so far i have yet to find a printer (i mean a  graphics company) that can open a solidworks file.  Typically I have been sending our printer a pdf drawing and after many complaints by the printers we eventually get something acceptable.  However today, as luck would have it, i needed to have another batch of machine name plates made up and I decided that i want  to put this issue to bed once and for all. As it turns out, there is a way to export vectors form solidworks to illustrator.  I did this with Illuistrator CS5.  If you want to try it, you can download a 30 day trial from Adobe.


                  Here are the steps:

                  1. Open your model file, and select "Save As" then ".dxf" file and select the "options" button.  Here is where you can get in trouble.  Illustrator says it can open 2006 and older files, but it doesn't at least when you export form solidworks.  However it works perfectly if select R14 version.  (other versions may work too, I didn't try them all).  You will get another dialogue and i just select my view that i want and i'm done with the solidworks part. 


                  2. now open illustrator, and open your file.


                  3.  Now heres the second trick, don't click too quickly.  after you select your file, a DXF/DWG option dialog will appear.  Under scale, leave it at 100%, but below that, it defulats as 1 unit = 1 Point, you need to change that so that 1 unit = 1 inch.  once you do that your image will appear.  I then change my art pad to match the drawing size.  Also, if this is something that is goign to be cut (ie a label), i usually move my border or cutting edges to another layer that I label as "cuts" and keep the graphics on a seperate layer.  The only word of warning is that your text will be imported as splines instead of text.  The other thing that i do is change the light weight to the smallest (i think .25pt).  Then fill in my text as neccessary.  Just be carefull when your editing because since its vector graphics, its real easy to drag an edge around. 


                  Its pretty easy after you do it once of twice.