This workflow is based on my own experience. I publish steps otherwise definitely will forgot it overnight. This working well with toolchain:
- Solidworks 2015
- Adobe Illustrator CS5
- VCarve Pro 8
I've modeled basic enclosure part which possible to milled with 2.5D router.
Here is the process:
- In SolidWorks make drawings from part File → Make Drawing From Part
- In Sheet Format/Size dialog uncheck Display sheet size option (we no need legend on sheets) and choose custom sheet size slightly more than your part's dimensions.
- Drag-n-drop on a sheet part view you need to vectorize. There is no need to change visibility of features or scetches for this step.
- Abort additional views by Esc. Select main view you drop on a sheet on previous step and change it's properties:
- Scale 1:1
- Dimension type to Projected
- All displays settings to High quality
- Align resulted drawings at the middle of sheet
- File → Save As .ai do not save multipaged drawings with pdf support. It's better to store one drawing as one .ai file
- Open this file in Adobe Illustrator. First of all you need to check the list:
- Overall vector dimensions
- List of layers
- Open paths counter (Show Objects in Document Info)
- Manually delete all unnecessary bullshit such additional layers, construction geometry, centerlines, anchors, etc.
- In case all vector data stored in one layer with compound path do this: Select all (Ctrl+A) → RMB on selected path → Release Compound path
- Now you need to close all open paths. There is a lot of ways to do it in semi-automatic mode (Expand command, Knife tool or even scripts), but ye olde manual Group selection tool + Join (Ctrl+J) still the best.
- No need to save separate contours in separate files, VCarve can handle it from one container. Store only vectors you'll need to feed your CNC router. Then File → Save As .ai
- Vectric has a good video tutorial covered all further steps for VCarve Pro, but I'd sum it up. In SolidWorks part: File → Save As .STL. Make sure you choose appropriate Units and Tolerance in Export Options section.
- In VCarve create New File. Go to Modeling tab and click Import a component or 3d model then choose your STL file.
- Adjust basic options (material thikness, part orientation, etc)
- We need our .ai vectors to generate milling toolpaths properly. Go to 2D view and select 2D drawing tools tab on bottom left.
- Click Import vectors from a file and choose .ai you saved on step 11. Now orient vector over 2D part view manually. The contours should match perfectly.
- To generate every new toolpath choose vector line (or multiple lines) in 2d view first.