Beginner needs help- How to create CAD (dxf, eps) file from my Model?

OK- I am just starting out at Sketch Up- I have designed a beehive and am ready to make a prototype. I want to get all the wood parts precision cut with a CNC router. I contacted some people who do this and they asked for a CAD file in either DXF or EPS format. I am using SketchUp Make version.

How do I go from a model in sketch up to a file I can send to the CNC people?

please forgive my ignorance.

Sketchup Make doesn’t export dxf file. Maybe find a plugin that does that or ask someone to do it for you.

Before that though, you would need to disassemble your model and have all the parts laid flat, then all the parts exploded and keep only the top lines, something like this.

When you have them like so, you would need to export it to dxf.

Hello there,

thanks for that- I read already about laying out the components onto sheets as you describe- my plan was to work out the basic size of my base material planks- then lay out the components onto those sheets in skect up- then export as you described. However some of my parts have rebates etc, and I want to get cut with a CNC router- which- apparently- can cut out the outline edge shape and also cut out rebates, etc working in 3d. So wouldn’t I need to produce some kind of 3d CAD file?

I am not sure- perhaps I am using the trial version of sketch up- as in the file menu there is an option to ‘export as dxf’?

I really am ignorant at this stage- and trying to learn- basically what I need help with is:

How to I best translate my sketch up wood work model into a file that I can give to the CNC precision cutting people?

I really appreciate your help.

Hmm, you would better ask the CNC guys.
I know just a little about CNC and most of the stuff usually is made when the toolpaths are created.
I know that to cut the contour you just need the contour exported but when it comes to rebates and stuff, I believe you need the inside line of the rebates and perhaps the thickness and so to tell to the CNC guys. If they asked for dxf and eps these are usually just vector files.
Perhaps you have the trial of Pro at the moment which will convert in Make after the trial expires.

Can you post a picture with your work ? Maybe that will give us an idea…

here are screen shots of some of the wood components:

basically I have designed the complete beehive made of 3/4 inch thick planks of wood. Most parts are simply flat cut outs but some have rebates. There is nothing very complex in the design. I plan to either get the wood cut by laser- or by CNC router. If I use laser the rebates would have to be done manually the old fashioned way after the cutting.

They look simple. These are usually called Pockets.
My advice is to turn the faces with the rebates up and lay all the faces flat. Then take a picture and save the model.
Then do what I said in my previous message but change the color of the rebates contour and also assign the contour of the rebates to a different layer. You can see in my image that some of the lines are red, they are for engraving so they won’t be cutout.
For your upper part, you would just have the inside line of the rebate assigned to a different layer.If they have a big enough endmill they will create an offset of it with the size of the radius of the mill and just go in one pass to create it.
When you will export them they will see the two different layer. It is also important which rebates how deep they are, so you will add some text with an arrow to point out the depth.
Again, this is how I would do it. I don’t know how they would work.

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You can get EPS from SketchUp Make:

  • use a PDF printer, preferably one where you can create a custom page size that matches the sheet your parts are going to be cut from.
  • in the Print dialog, turn on the “Use High-accuracy HLR” quality option (On a Mac it is called “Vector Printing”)
  • print. The resulting PDF is identical in content to an EPS file. If necessary, you can use Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or Inkscape (free) to convert from PDF to EPS.