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.