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How can I more efficiently use space while laser/plasma cutting?

I've made a number of plans in 123d make, but there is so much empty space that becomes unusable for future projects.  Isn't there some way to "condense" a .dxf so it has a smaller footprint?  I don't care if the angle is weird or whatever, I just know that there has to be a far more efficient way to use up material.

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Kiteman2 years ago

Once you've imported your DXF file into whatever software drives your cutter, you should be able to manually rearrange the pieces - change their location, rotate them, even flip them until you get the "best" arrangement for cutting.

furrysalamander (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

Right, but with 100+ parts, there's got to be a piece of software that supports importing a single .dxf, and automatically rearranging all the pieces in it so they fit...

Maybe drop a suggestion to Autodesk...?

furrysalamander (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

Yeah. It's looking like that's the only way it's going to happen. Hopefully they'll have a solution in less than 6 months. *sigh*

It's not the file that needs to change it's the software your unsung to run the cutter. You shouldn't be exporting the file straight out of 123D and telling the laser cut to start the job. You need to import that file into the laser cutting software so you have the opportunity to move it around and lace it on the edge of the blank. What software are you using to run the laser cutter?

furrysalamander (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago

Sorry, I should have clarified a bit more. I'm talking about how there's empty space in and around piece and rather than putting the little piece there, it puts them in another area entirely, leaving me with all of this unused space. Is there any software that could rearrange the pieces so I'm left with less waste material at the end of a project?

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Yes, there are tools that can do that. There are sheet optimisers for plasma cutters that will work.

furrysalamander (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago

Can you give me an example?

FastCam optimiser springs to mind.

furrysalamander (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago

Anything that will import a .dxf, rearrange all the pieces, then spit out the new one?

I doubt it, you'll have to split the bits out of the original DXF

Also, 123d Make exports as a single file, are there any that support that?