How to make a dxf file?


I’m new to SU community.
I just made a model for a staircase, and I need to make or export a DXF file for the CNC production, which I don’t do myself by the way. I tried to but what I need is a “flat” file, with only a line drawing. How do I get started with that? Anyone a tip for a good instructional video?



Set the Camera to Parallel Projection, select the appropriate standard view, and then export as a DXF file.

Sounds like before you get too far into things, you should spend some time learning the fundamentals at

I did some learning on the fundamentals some time ago, but to make a dxf file is new. I tried Google chrome to view the dxf before I send it to the cmc operator, but all I see is symbols, characters and numbers.
are there some useful plugins at extension warehouse?
Thanks for the tip,

You need some sort of CAD program or viewer to view the file. You could also import the CAD file into LayOut or SketchUp to see what it looks like.

There are all sorts of useful extensions there but I don’t see anything in your thread so far that suggests the need for any extensions.

It’s worth watching all of this video, in which Aaron shows a way of exporting the DXF as 3D, in order to get true curves:

One thing he doesn’t mention is that in the export options you can turn off Faces. That way you don’t have to go around and delete faces first.

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You can get a free viewer for AutoCad files like DXF and DWG - google for Download TrueView.

And there are others - Google search will help you find one you like, if you want to try others.

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the person in the video mentions the source from where he got that information and the suggestion that it’s worthwhile to visit that, but I could nit understand what he said, nor is there a link or so, did you got it?

The full presentation is here:

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for this incredibly useful explanation, my challenge was the same as the OP’s.

I followed the instructions in the Skill Builder video (choosing 3D model export, not 2D), but did not end up with the result shown. At least, in part. I have a model with 4 arcs (or really 8, as the problem sometimes appears over half of these arcs). Some of the arcs are exported to the DXF as a proper arc, but others still show the segments in Layout. When I try to import the DXF into another CAD application where I need to process it, it says the shape is not closed. This I attribute to the segments still being present in the file.

BTW, I created the shape by drawing circles and finding their common tangents using the ‘common tangents’ function of the ‘True Tangents’ extension for Sketchup.

My assumption is that the True Tangent extension somehow does not properly place the tangents on the edges of the circles. I tried several times to correct it, but the exported DXF keeps coming out looking like it does. So perhaps this question is off-topic and really about the True Tangents plugin.

Here are the files: the .skp, .dxf, and layout file.

5 pin din.layout (49.2 KB)
5 pin din.skp (24.6 KB)

As a new user I can’t upload more than two links in one post. Here is a separate post for the DXF file.

5 pin din.dxf (41.8 KB)

Some of the arcs are exploded in your SketchUp model. You can see that with Endpoints turned on in the style.

The True Tangents tools place the guides on the tangents of the true circles/arcs which may or may not be on the edge of the drawn circles/arcs. This depends on the number of segments you’ve chosen for the arc or circles and where the vertices on the circles wind up. If I were modeling this for your application I would get the true tangents as you did, delete the geometry and redraw the arcs with the Arc tool and connect them.

Is there some reason you exploded the viewport in LayOut?

Here’s the revised shape in SU, the LO file with the revised shape, and the DXF exports from both SketchUp and LayOut. Look at both the SU and LO files to see how they are set up.
5 pin din.skp (27.6 KB)
5 pin din.layout (63.2 KB)
5 pin din 3D export from SU.dxf (52.9 KB)
5 pin din from LO.dxf (142.6 KB)

I had noticed that the placement of the true tangents was not on the edges of the cirles as I drew them. This made it hard to figure out where the connecting line ends had to land. Must have gotten that wrong a couple of times. The solution you show here is great. Too simple for me to figure out… Thanks for pointing this out.

No. That is: I had no idea this is something that I did. I never use Layout and only did so because the post above included the Layout step to show the unsegmented arc.

Will try redrawing the shape using the arc tool and the true tangent points.

That is because the edges of SketchUp circles are not on the circle, the vertices (endpoints) are. To get an intersection in SketchUp you would have to redraw arcs using the tangent point as endpoint.

Thanks Anssi. I did that just now in the way that DaveR pointed out. Looks great in Layout now. However, the application that I need to import the DXF into still complains that the contour is not closed in many places. In Sketchup and in Layout I can’t figure out what is wrong with the file. Will try in FreeCAD to see if that works.

Do you get the same complaints with the .dxf file I uploaded?

Yes. Although with the DXF from SU the app complained about the contour not being closed in only two places, not many. And with the DXF from LO there were both many places where the contour allegedly wasn’t closed, and a new complaint about double lines.


In your SketchUp subscription Trimble
connect is included. Download the PC or Mac version and open you DXF, DWG, IFC…… files and more.
You can also use the web version and upload files and the watch in you web browser or in you phone. Se picture screenshot from my iPhone inside Trimble Connect.