You can use any design software that will export the accepted file types listed below. Popular softwares include:
CAD softwares EG Dassault Solidworks, Autodesk Inventor, Dassault Catia, Siemens NX, Siemens SolidEdge, PTC Creo, Autodesk Fusion360, PTC OnShape Autodesk AutoCAD & Alibre.
Graphic softwares - EG Illustrator & Inkscape.
Image conversion softwares - EG Convertio.
Accepted File Types
DXF (2D Vector)
EPS (2D Vector)
Ai (2D Vector)
SVG (2D Vector)
Need engraving or metal bending? Use a 2D Vector DXF, EPS, Ai, or SVG file. Different colors are needed to define which lines are cut, engraved or bent when ordering online EG
Below you'll find some quick export guides first for CAD and then for graphics softwares...
Quick Export Guides - CAD Softwares
AutoCAD - save as DXF or STEP
Mac version: Text can not be converted to a path for the laser to read.
Windows version: If you use text, fonts must be converted to paths: i) Select the text you would like to explode. ii) Select ‘Express tools > Text explodes’. (Install Express Tools from your original AutoCAD installation file (this plugin usually installs by default) or download it from the Autodesk website).
Save files as DXF.
Use the ‘File > Save as’ command and select the format as AutoCAD ‘2007 DXF file’.
Fusion 360 - save as DXF or STEP
.DXF's can only be exported/saved from a Sketch within a Fusion 360 design. If one does not exist, a sketch will have to be created before the Save as DXF option appears.
If you use text, fonts must be converted to outlines: Right click on the text > ‘Explode Text’ from the drop down menu to create lines for exporting.
Export Sketch as a .DXF by right clicking on the desired sketch in the browser and selecting Save as DXF.
Please note the entire content of a sketch will be exported and regardless of what direction the sketch is constructed in Fusion 360, the DXF output will always be in XY space.
Onshape - save as DXF or STEP
Right-click any face or sketch in an Onshape Part Studio and choose “Export as DXF/DWG.
Solidworks - save as DXF or STEP
Saving cut lines from a Part
File save as > DXF
Select faces (not views) to ensure you're exporting a 2d line drawing rather than a 3d drawing.
Click on the face you want to export, tick and save (2010 ASCII DXF is best)
Saving cutting and engraving lines
Regarding engraving, you'll need to save out a 'drawing' and set the artwork you want engraved as a different line color to the cutting lines. This article about 'color mapping' which may help you to do that.
Autodesk Inventor - save as DXF or STEP
Saving cut lines from a flat Part
Right click on face
Click Export face as
Type in a file name and save as Autodesk dxf
If your part doesn't have a flat edge, you can export a profile of a 3d form as shown in this link (image credit above from this link too)
Draftsight- save as DXF
In the dialog box, specify the following:Save in: Navigate to the folder where you want to store the file.File name: Type a name for the file.Save as type: 2007 dxf
Want cutting and engraving? Use a different color for the objects you want engraved:
Quick Export Guides - Graphic Softwares
Graphic softwares can export both pixel and vector based artwork. For laser cutting artwork needs to made up of vector paths.
What’s the difference between vectors and pixels? Vector artwork is made up of paths defined by mathematical coordinates. They are infinitely scalable and the laser traces along the path while cutting your design. Pixel based images (eg JPG’s) are made up of a bunch of dots, are not scalable, and the laser cannot use them as toolpaths.
General color profiles:
You can use any color. If you are making files with objects for both cutting and engraving we recommend using this combination:
Blue stroke = cutting
Red stroke = line engraving
Black fill = area engraving
Illustrator - save as EPS or AI
If you use text, fonts must be converted to outlines: ‘Type > Create Outlines’ from top menu.
Save files as EPS or AI
Use the ‘File > Save as’ command and select the format as 'Illustrator EPS' or ‘Illustrator AI’.
If saving as AI (recommended), use the following settings for best results:
Inkscape - save as SVG
Some older versions of this program use an outdated resolution which can cause scaling issues. We recommend you use version 0.92.5 or newer. You can check what version you are using by clicking 'help > about Inkscape'
If you use text, fonts must be converted to outlines: ‘Path > Object to Path’ from top menu.
Save files as SVG.
Use the ‘File > Save as’ command and select the format as 'Inkscape SVG'.
Affinity - Save as EPS
Convert fonts to vectors (Select text. Layer menu; 'convert to curves'. You can also achieve this by right clicking the object and selecting Convert to Curves in that menu)
Avoid FX Effects (these tend to not export as vectors)
Save as EPS
Ensure that 'Rasterize' is be set to 'Nothing' in the export panel (you may need to click 'more' to reveal this setting)
Corel - Save as EPS
Convert fonts to vectors (select all the type in your file. Go to the top menu under Arrange, select Convert to Curves. You can also achieve this by right clicking the object and selecting Convert to Curves in that menu)
Save as EPS