DXF files. How do you guys open them in Illustrator to scale so they aren't huge?!



I know everyone runs into dxf files on Thingiverse that don’t normally work with them. I want to cut this simple centerfinder jig ( https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1074673 ) and when I open it in Illustrator I get all of the options on how i might want it but I have yet to figure out the ratio I should open it in so that is opens as the proper size without the need to scale it.

Sure, in this case I can measure the lines and figure it out, but I have opened plenty of files that are just shapes and it is a real pain to try to get it all right. It’s probably simple and one of you smart humans can tell me.

Thank you!!


Usually you just have to tell it the right units. I don’t have Illustrator handy to take a screenshot, but the thing where it says “1 unit = 1 _______”, I leave the 1s on both sides and set the _______ to the correct value (inches or millimeters) depending on where the DXF is coming from.

At least, I think that’s how I do it. And of course that file could be especially peculiar in some way.


Since I was just getting up from my desk, here’s what the dialog looks like for me when I open a DXF.

56 PM


My problem is what percent to scale it by. The original size is massive, fit artboard won’t work and I am just taking a shot in the dark at the percentage. 10% was even too big. Is there no information in the file itself that can tell the software what it is supposed to be?


I don’t use the scale percentage. I change the scale units.

Try changing the drop down from inches to mm, and leave the percentage at 100%.

When you first change the drop down, you will see this:

18 PM

Then change 25.4 to 1.


You shouldn’t have to scale it. If the DXF is meant to be in millimeters, then importing it as inches will make it too big. I would leave everything else at 100% or original size, and 1:1, and just mess with the units dropdown. Unless of course the DXF file is pathological, which is always possible. But in my experience I’ve only ever needed to adjust the units.


but it makes you choose one of the 3… it won’t unselect the buttons…hrmmm


Select the Scale By:, but leave it at 100%.


this is what I get when I scale by 100 and use 1 unit to 1 inch and also when I change it to cm… the artboard is 19"x11" . Am I being blonde here? How would I know what the ratio is supposed to be?


Have you tried mm? By definition, cm would be 10x too big.


For third-party sources, you may have to make somewhat of an educated guess. But, for most of the Thingiverse items, I find that the unit is mm not inch or cm.


I got that exact same massive ruler on my default board when I selected mm. Like it isn’t effecting it at all no matter what I put in… only when I change the actual percentage… very strange!


It looks like you forgot to change that 25.4 to 1 after choosing millimeters…


Try with Scale 1, Units 1 and millimeters


Now THAT was my blonde moment. Those are rare, but hey… lol

That did it… thank you guys. I will just convert to mm from now on and hope for the best.


I’m glad you got that sorted out. Now I have to do what I should be doing and drive into NYC for a meeting this afternoon :slight_smile:


Have a nive trip and be safe :wink:


You haven’t seen how fast I drive :rofl:


You should have driven in early and stopped by Google for lunch and laser talk.


That’s not all that far from my “office” in JC, that I have only been to once in the last 18 months.