Designing projects in a CAD software like Fusion 360 makes utilizing SendCutSend’s laser cutting service easy. After your design is complete, the first step to uploading parts to our instant quote tool is learning how to export a DXF in Fusion 360. Watch the video or follow along with the transcript below to learn our best tips for this.
Be sure to export your designs in either millimeters or inch units; we have guidance on how to change units in Fusion here.
Video Guide and Tutorial on Exporting to DXF from Fusion360
What is Fusion 360’s Flat Pattern Mode?
Exporting a DXF from Fusion 360’s Flat Pattern mode has some advantages and disadvantages when it comes to laser cutting. The DXF will include all outer profiles, interior profiles, bend center lines, bend extend lines, and any text, which will all be assigned to different layers within the DXF file.
Getting started with exporting a DXF in Fusion 360
With the Flat Pattern active, we can select “Export Flat Pattern as DXF.”
You will then see the option to “Convert Splines to Polylines.” Polylines are line segments strung together, which makes them much simpler. This option is recommended as polylines are more widely accepted and provide more consistent results across software packages.
After checking the option, we can also define the tolerance. This will specify the maximum allowable deviation between the polylines and the original splines. Leaving this to the default is often sufficient.
After clicking OK, we’re presented with another dialog where we can define the File name and location. Click Save once you’ve filled out the name and location.
Tips for how to export a DXF in Fusion 360
We also recommend opening your DXF file in a graphics program, such as Adobe Illustrator, or reopening the DXF in a new Fusion 360 file to ensure everything is exported as expected.
The only real disadvantage to this Flat Pattern Export is that it will always include the bend lines and Fusion 360 does not currently have a choice to exclude them. You may choose to remove them in a graphics program or separate Fusion 360 file, to ensure they’re not confused with the outer contour lines. (However, if you are also utilizing SendCutSend’s online CNC bending service and you export a DXF in Fusion 360, we require that you use the default bend line indicators that Fusion 360 provides.)
|Fusion360||.dxf||Solid line (default)|
|Adobe Illustrator||.ai||Solid, separate color from cut lines|
|SolidWorks||.dxf||Dashed line (default)|
|CorelDraw||.eps||Solid, separate color from cut lines|
|Inkscape||.eps||Solid, separate color from cut lines|
Final thoughts on Fusion 360’s Flat Pattern feature
To summarize, leveraging Fusion 360’s sheet metal features are a great way to design for sheet metal manufacturing while providing flexible workflows. Creating custom Sheet Metal Rules allows you to design specific to the material and bend processes you’re working with. And exporting the Flat Pattern as a DXF is a quick and easy way to get a flat pattern for laser cutting.