Autodesk Inventor Sheetmetal DXF and STEP files

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I recently worked on a project where I had to convert some 2D drawings into 3D sheetmetal components. This was the easy part as it were. Now for the outputs. The deliverables were a 2D dxf and a flattened STEP file of the unfolded component. Well easy you might say, but I had 90 parts which means I had to export 180 files from Inventor.

Now what does this entail you might ask? Firstly you would have to open each part and manually flatten the sheetmetal if you had not done that while modelling up the part.

Once the flat pattern has been activated you need to right click on it in the browser and select save copy as…

In the Save Copy As dialog box, you will notice that you can only export to SAT, DWG or DXF not STEP file. I had to create a flat STEP file so now what? Export to AutoCAD and convert that? That would take even more time and I was running out of it and the budget that was allocated to the project.

So what could I do? Turn to my handy Tools for Inventor that Micrographics has developed. More specifically the DXF Exporter. This app allows you to create DXF’s from your part but not only does it do that it will also unfold the sheetmetal part if you have forgotten to whilst in the modelling phase. But wait there is more!

In the same process of creating those DXF’s you are able to create the FLATTENED STEP file! A win for everyone. If you are using Autodesk Inventor to create your designs I would highly recommend checking out these apps and giving it a try. You will not be disappointed.

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