Tutorial: Laser Cutting From Solidworks




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:



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    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    DXF also means that solidworks will not export as a compound path!


    2 years ago

    Thanks for this great article.

    In case you're having trouble making an even offset, or reducing the stroke width of your offset, make sure "Align New Objects to Pixel Grid", under 'Transformations' is unchecked before you create the offset


    2 years ago

    10/10 amazing instructable. Thank you tons

    Sandie W

    3 years ago

    really nice instructions. Very clear and easy to understand