Instructables

How to export an Autodesk Inventor part for a ShopBot CNC router

Picture of How to export an Autodesk Inventor part for a ShopBot CNC router

In this Instructable, I'm going to show you how you can take your 2D part, designed in Autodesk Inventor, and export it for use with a CNC router.

The first time I tried to do this I kept running into issues. There are a couple of tricks that you need to do to export your part correctly so that your CAM software (I'm using VCarve Pro) can correctly generate toolpaths. I'm going to write this Instructable so that people don't waste time like I did trying to figure out why errors kept happening.

I did this at TechShop, where they have a CNC router and all the software that you would use to do this.

 
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Step 1: Export your part

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After you've designed your part, right click the face. Since this is a 2D part, we don't have to worry about grabbing anything else. All we need is the face. That was my first mistake!

Before saving it, we must change some of the advanced options. Click the Options button to open another dialog. VCarve Pro 6 (the version TechShop is using), requires a specific DXF format, otherwise it will throw an error message that isn't very helpful. That was my second mistake! Select R12/LT 2 DXF and save.

Step 2: Open your drawing in VCarve Pro

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Now, VCarve will accept your file format so you can go ahead and open it.

You'll first have to setup your job material. Then, create your toolpaths. Using VCarve is out of scope of this Instructable as there is so much you can do. The purpose was to show you how you can easily export a 2D designed part from Autodesk Inventor in order to create your toolpaths in VCarve and take it to a CNC machine (like a ShopBot or Tormach) and make your part.

I hope you enjoyed it and that it solved any of your same issues that I experienced.

lime3D4 months ago
That only works if you have a single depth. The better technique is to create a full size (1:1 scale) 2D drawing of the 3D part, then make a "Save Copy As" and select .DXF
trev25 (author)  lime3D4 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion. I've only had to do it with a single depth part but it's good to know there is another option.

lime3D trev253 months ago

No problem. When saving the .DXF, save it as version AutoCAD 2000 or earlier for best results.

Here's one I did that needed multiple depths:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Playing-Card-Holde...

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