Export from AutoCad

Hi Everyone,
Who is exporting design from Autocad? Im having trouble getting the GF to read my desings. I guess I should say im having trouble getting them up to the cloud.

I look forward to hearing how you get your files produced.

What format are you exporting?

If it is DXF, you will need to convert it to SVG format (most people use Inkscape or Illustrator) before trying to load it into the Glowforge interface.

There is a tutorial on saving SVG files with the correct settings here.


I was hopeing to export DXFs but that doesnt work. I was also hopeing that i could open my drawing in rhino and export those files. I even have .AI as an option from rhino but the GF interface does not like that.

GFUI likes SVG and PDF.

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For Fusion 360, I export in DXF, import into Inkscape (usually delete some extraneous construction lines) and then save as SVG.

That’d probably work for AutoCAD as well, right?


Should have options like SVG + PDF. The SVG and PDF should both go straight to the GF and can be color coded for score, engrave, cut options.
If not try what Markwal said above.
My CAD is taking a back seat now that my efforts are migrating to laser cutting versus 3D printing.
To be useful as an art file it will be necessary to lay all pieces flat in a view and remove hidden lines before publishing in an art format.

CAD BONUS: I have made a few usable height maps using various light options while object was in draft or quality view. Should allow for a deep engrave of an item instead of slicing it into many parts for the laser to cut.

However, other than general layout, improved layering, etc, or bringing an existing file into a new format, I will be avoiding the CAD approach. It was useful making STL files for a 3D printer, but art programs are probably going to be more of a go-to source for glowforge items.
Your mileage may vary, but I have already been using combinations of CAD and Art programs since BRYCE (which was a great combo of both formats) and it does become easier to flip between them over time.
Good luck and happy forging.


Try saving as a PDF or printing to PDF. This is what I use with SolidWorks and it seems to work very well.

Do the pdfs separate out engraving and cutting paths?

You have to set them to different colors. I use red for cutting and pink or green for etching, blue for scoring, etc. It should be easy to set layers up in AutoCad for your different actions.

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ok!!! i will definitely give that a shot! thanks for all the help every

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I use Autocad. Like mentioned GF does not use layers but colors. I export DXF to Inkscape and export Svg from there. Is a nuisance but works well once you make sure your DXF is set up in the right quadrant with lower left at WCS 0,0 and you set the document size in Inkscape to 19.5” x 10.5”


I’ve found that for simple projects I can copy my design in Vectorworks and paste directly into Illustrator where I save as an SVG. The copy/paste maintains scale and makes for fairly easy iteration. Probably would work in ACAD as well.

Looking forward to being able to go straight from CAD someday… but until then this works.

Why don’t you just save as PDF out of AutoCAD?

I also use AutoCAD and my process is to save-as my drawing as a .dxf, then create a new Inkscape file and import the .dxf from AutoCAD. I make any modifications I want (like turning text into objects) and then save the Inkscape file as an .svg (the default for Inkscape). Then I import the .svg into the Glowforge interface.

Note 1: Inkscape is interchangeable with Illustrator in this example, I just prefer Inkscape.
Note 2: Depending on your version of Inkscape, it assumes everything is done in millimeters when importing the .dxf. I suggest designing in mm or simply scaling by 25.4 when importing.


I’m afraid we aren’t experts in Autocad, but it looks like you are getting great help here!

Like others have mentioned, the Glowforge app currently accepts JPG, PNG, SVG and PDF files.

I’ll leave this open for a while since the conversation is great - thanks everyone!

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I haven’t tried a PDF out of AutoCad. No good reason not to try. I just found something that worked perfectly (meaning accurate scale) and I stuck with it.

I am interested to see what happens if you export directly to PDF. I suspect it would work just as well and you would save a step or two.

Pdf out of cad does eam to work some times but other times it does not
carry the vector art and makes it a bit map and/or it splits the art work
up to a bunch of pieces…hmmmm

Good to know. Thanks

i tried it and as @nickwood_scenic said the PDF export turns everything into a bitmap which is only good for engraving. I like to work with vectors for scoring and cutting.

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