CAD File Formats for Laser Cutting

Posted on

At ES3 we take pride in offering our customers high-quality laser cutting and metal fabrication services with a focus on a quick lead time and exceptional customer service. In order to provide the best possible service to our customers, it’s helpful to receive accurate and comprehensive CAD files that allow us to quote and supply parts quickly and efficiently. It is also useful to state the intended purpose of the finished part so that we can assess the necessary steps required to meet tolerances expected by the customer.

Flat Laser Cutting

DXF files are the most common for flat laser cutting. DXF stands for Drawing eXchange Format and these files typically contain vector data which provides an exact 2D representation of the part. These files are preferred by many customers due to their simplicity and they enable us to import directly into our laser software without any pre-processing required. Parts can be directly drawn in 2D and saved DXF files, however it’s usually a better idea to model your parts in a 3D environment then export DXF flat patterns for laser cutting.

Folded Parts

If you’re working with parts that have bends/folds then you should use appropriate bend radius and k-factor settings such as the ones we’ve calculated for our tooling. It’s also good practice to include the bend lines on your DXF flat patterns and also provide PDF drawings which show the bend angles, flange lengths, and any other important information.

Tube Laser Cutting

We generally use 3D models to program our tube lasers – the most common format being STEP. Other common formats include Parasolid and IGES. These formats make it easy for us to import the file into our software for quoting or production. We can also work off 2D drawings or sketches, however 3D models are particularly useful for complex parts where a 2D drawing may not provide enough information to fully understand the part’s design.

What if I don’t do CAD?

We understand that not everyone has access to CAD resources and our in-house CAD team is more than happy to assist if you need parts produced from sketches or photos.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns about CAD file types or our fabrication process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team can work with you to optimize your designs for laser cutting and sheet metal fabrication. We are committed to providing exceptional customer service and are always happy to help. Contact us today to learn more about our laser cutting and sheet metal fabrication services and how we can help with your next project.

Back to news page