Free software to open STL files and save out pieces as SVG?

I found some STL files that I would like to convert to flat cuts, but never having done 3d I don’t know where to start.

Here’s an example:

Seems like there ought to be a way to get a top-down view of a model and export that as vector art. Thanks in advance if you can provide any leads on Windows software to accomplish this.

While I don’t know of any dedicated tools for this Fusion 360 would take care of your needs.

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As @markevans36301 mentioned, you’ll need a 3D app such as F360 to export the faces as SVGs. I use a lightweight web-based version called TinkerCad to do quick & dirty conversions. Here are the 8- & 24-notch versions exported as SVG. Please be sure to verify the scale before cutting (but a quick check in the GF app looks like it is sized correctly).



As @markevans36301 mentions, you can use Slicer for Fusion 360. You can even run it standalone:

When I’ve used it before, iirc, it assumes two things about stl’s that are different than the convention for 3D printing. First, it assumes the Z axis is pointed at the viewer (that’s typical for 3D animation) rather than vertical (typical for 3D printing). And I think it also assumes inches rather than mm (stl’s themselves are unitless). So you may have to do some scaling and rotating to get it to do what you want.


I didn’t even think of slicer for this use case but if are not wanting to do any modification it is perfect! Good catch.

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+1 for Slicer for Fusion 360 - I’ve tried other STL conversion tools and Slicer was quite literally the only one that worked for me.

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Fantastic, thanks everyone!

My list of Excuses Not To Learn F360 Already is getting thinner by the day.


Me too. I’ve started learning, but other than Lars on YouTube, I haven’t found much.

I love Lars but as an absolute beginner any video can be way too fast. Check out the writen tutorials in the matrix. Finish them and you will have designed a box and have a good start on your journey. °

°full disclosure, I wrote them and may be a wee bit biased.


F360 is da bomb.

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I went to learn F360 and, being open minded, googled around quite a bit for the best tutorials, with a particular eye towards non-video content (as that’s how I prefer to learn).

Our forum’s tutorials absolutely kill. By far the best. I use F360 all the time now.



If you ever want a 1-on-1 training session, I’d be happy to provide one. It’s my favorite part of working at Autodesk.

  • Jason

You simply can’t comprehend how happy it makes me to have had that small part in you learning F360. “Giddy like a school girl”.

The stuff that has been done here for the pride of doing so is amazing. There is not a tutorial in the matrix that is not good. Oh some may not have a lot of polish but they all are super usefull. I go there all the time when stuck on Inkscape.


Thanks, @Secret_Sauce! The sticking point for me right now is figuring out a straightforward workflow from 3D part to Glowforge print. At the moment it’s lots of copying parts, moving stuff around, drawings, etc. I’d love to see a good tutorial on a quick path to flattening & laying out well.

This is my latest design, a parametric dice tower:

My kids love it for math practice - roll the dice, multiply the results. I made two and engraved them with each of their names.


In Fusion 360, I would have used “project” tools in this case but maybe slicer is better? I don’t have tried.

If you slice an object with Fusion360slicer and save as a PDF, circles and arcs lose their properties, and are converted into multiple line segments like some DXF exports are treated. It’s fine enough that you probably wouldn’t notice cutting with the laser, but if you were looking to use it as a way to export the cross section of a body into another app it may not do what you want.

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I posted a video recently about modifying STL files in Fusion 360, but as the first step is importing one and projecting it to a sketch, it may be useful for seeing how that’s done. Once you have the sketch, you can export it in the usual ways to use it for laser cutting.


I’m going to need to pry myself away from the laser and make time for this stuff. Thanks to all you folks who make this content and post other good finds, it is much appreciated.

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I did a short tutorial on producing a slice of a body in Fusion 360.

Create an offset plane that intersects the body you wish to slice:
Construct-Offest plane select a distance so it slices the body where you want it.
Create a sketch on the construction plane:
Sketch-Create Sketch Select the construction plane you created.
Reactivate the construction plane:
Browser-Construction-Select the plane
Project the outlines of the body onto the sketch:
Sketch-Project/Include-Intersect. In the Intersect dialog choose the Body icon, then click on the body in the drawing.

This has a few advantages over using Fusion360 slicer, as circle and arc geometry is maintained. It also eliminates double cuts (overlapped lines) in your DXF outputs.


Excellent, thanks!