Instructables
Picture of Tutorial: Laser Cutting from Solidworks

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

 
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Step 1: Load your part in Solidworks

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Step 2: Make a drawing from the part

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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

Picture of 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

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Step 5: Copy the part to a new document

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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

Picture of Release compound path, and join paths
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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

Picture of Compensate for the laser kerf using Offset Path
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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

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Zoom in, and delete the original paths

Step 9: Applied desired stroke color

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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: