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SolidWorks 2.5D part to VCarve Pro CAM export workflow

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:

  1. In SolidWorks make drawings from part File → Make Drawing From Part
  2. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. Align resulted drawings at the middle of sheet
  2. File → Save As .ai do not save multipaged drawings with pdf support. It's better to store one drawing as one .ai file
  3. 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)

  1. Manually delete all unnecessary bullshit such additional layers, construction geometry, centerlines, anchors, etc.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.

  1. In VCarve create New File. Go to Modeling tab and click Import a component or 3d model then choose your STL file.
  2. Adjust basic options (material thikness, part orientation, etc)
  3. We need our .ai vectors to generate milling toolpaths properly. Go to 2D view and select 2D drawing tools tab on bottom left.
  4. 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.
  5. To generate every new toolpath choose vector line (or multiple lines) in 2d view first.
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