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This tutorial outlines the process of getting parts from Solidworks to cut on Universal laser cutters.

Step 1: Load Your Part in Solidworks

Step 2: Make a Drawing From the Part

The document size does not matter. To make things easier on yourself, be sure to de-select the "Display Sheet Format" option.

Step 3: Add the Desired View, and Set Scale to 1:1

This step is very critical. If the scale is not set correctly, your part will not cut at the right size.

Step 4: Save the File As a .AI, and Open in Adobe Illustrator

Step 5: Copy the Part to a New Document

Set the document size to the cut area of the laser cutter. Check to make sure the color mode is RGB.

Step 6: Release Compound Path, and Join Paths

Solidworks applies a compound path to the entire part. Release it, then join continuous sections of your part.

Step 7: Compensate for the Laser Kerf Using Offset Path

Select all outer paths, and apply the desired offset. For most Universal lasers I've used on material 1/8" or less, I set a kerf of 0.003". Set the miter limit to something large- I typically use 50.

Select the inner paths, and apply a negative offset. In this case, -0.003".

Step 8: Delete Original Paths

Zoom in, and delete the original paths

Step 9: Applied Desired Stroke Color

Select your part, and create a new swatch under stroke.

For most Universal laser cutters, R255 G0 B0 indicates a vector cut. Use whatever your cutter requires.

Step 10: Cut!

Now, you can launch the print driver to send the cut to the laser cutter.

Step 11:

<p>I like to export as DXF, select the face I want or a view, and then import that DXF straight into AI. I think this generally simplifies the workflow and removes any potential risk of scaling errors.</p>
<p>DXF also means that solidworks will not export as a compound path!</p>
<p>Thanks for this great article. </p><p>In case you're having trouble making an even offset, or reducing the stroke width of your offset, make sure &quot;Align New Objects to Pixel Grid&quot;, under 'Transformations' is unchecked before you create the offset</p>
<p><strong>10/10</strong> amazing instructable. Thank you tons</p>
<p>really nice instructions. Very clear and easy to understand</p>
<p>This was very useful.Thank you!</p>

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