In the CAD design world the files that you work with are not necessarily all kept to the ones that are native to the CAD package that you are designing with. For instance with Inventor the native file formats that you generally use for a part, assembly and 2D drawing is an .ipt, .iam and a .idw. These files are perfect if you have Inventor and need to look at the file but what happens if you do not have a subscription to an Inventor license? One method of getting access to these files is to export it to a different file type. Typically if you needed to see the design and did not have a CAD package you would like to see it in either a .dwf or a .pdf file. Both these file format are able to be produced for the part, assembly and the 2D drawing.
When it comes to being able to use the file in a downstream manufacturing process unfortunately the .pdf and .dwf file format is not going to be very useful as it is read only. Files that one finds useful would be a DXF file (sheetmetal or 2D profiles for CNC machine) as well as STEP. These files can also be opened up in a variety of other CAD software as well as the software that is included with the machine you are manufacturing from.
If you have tried creating these files manually you will know it is a tedious affair as every part has to be opened and manually created by exporting to either STEP or DXF by using the copy face option. With DXF Exporter you have the ability to create both STEP and DXF files by selecting the assembly, filtering out the parts you do not need or want and then running the program.
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