This is the process I use for setting up laser jobs using SolidWorks:
- Create a new drawing template with the page size set to the GF bounding box. You only have to do this once.
- Create my part(s) as normal. If I am working on a joined assembly, I set the thickness as a global variable and the kerf as a global variable so I can adjust as needed when the thickness changes.
- Create a new assembly with all the parts I need that will fit on one sheet. A quick sketch of the bounding box keeps them all in the right area.
- Use mates to get all your edges abutting. Do all your layout in the assembly, even if you only have one part, unless it is only cuts, then you can skip to step 7 and skip step 8 altogether.
- Create a new drawing from the assembly, using the template created earlier.
- Set up your layers using colors for cuts, scores, and engraves. I usually have at least two cut layers so I can control when the parts are cut from the main sheet. This eliminates errors due to shifting during the cut. You can also control when parts are cut to allow thin areas to cool which will help prevent distortion when using acrylic and may help with burning on wood products.
- Create a view of your layout assembly.
- Create a sketch that gives one line per cut. You can use the convert edges option, but then you have to check for any overlaps. I find it is easier just to snap a line/curve to each corner. The GF will sometimes follow the direction and order of the lines in the sketch. You can also add solid hatch for engraving. If you need hatch borders that don’t get exported, just create a layer for those lines and remove its print visibility. This technique also means that if you change the part dimensions you don’t have to redo the sketch, just let it update and check it.
- Add any raster files at this time.
- In the drawing view pane, hide the components of the assembly if applicable.
- Save as PDF.
- Load into GFUI.
I have been using this process for a year now and other than some bad raster files I have never had a problem with it. The GFUI always accepts the files as long as the rasters are good. You can also add a layer for layout that you can set to ignore if you want to add rasters after the layout is brought into the GFUI.