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UPDATE: there's a much easier way to do this than is shown in this article. Check out Fusion 360 Custom Parts the Easier Way first!

Fusion 360 from Autodesk is one of the most popular 3D design and modeling packages available today. A recent poll of Big Blue Saw's customers showed us that it's the 2nd most used CAD package, just behind SolidWorks. It's free for personal use, which makes it very easy to get started.

But once you have created a design in Fusion 360, how can you turn that digital file into a real part from Big Blue Saw made of aluminum, stainless steel, or another material? Let's take a look.

For this tutorial, we're going to begin by assuming that you have some experience designing parts in Fusion 360. Below is a typical bracket created in Fusion 360, the type of part that we create every day here at Big Blue Saw.

FusionTutorial01

With your design open, click the File icon and pick New Drawing | From Design in the drop down menu.

FusionTutorial01

This will pop up the Create Drawing dialog. The default options shown below should work for your part. In particular you want the Template option to be "From Scratch". The Sheet Size should be large enough to fit the entire part. In this case, we know that the part is 12.475 x 6 inches, so size "B (17in x 11in)" should be plenty. Click OK to accept these options and close the dialog box.

FusionTutorial01

Next, the Drawing View dialog will appear. You'll need to pick an orientation such that you can see the entire outline of the part. In this case, the "Top" orientation allows us to view the part's outline. If you choose the wrong orientation, you'll see the part edge-on, which won't give enough information to the online quoting system to make the part.

FusionTutorial01

Choose the "Visible Edges" setting for the Style to create a drawing that only shows the top face of the part. Again, we don't need hidden lines or shading; the goal is to create a drawing with just the outline of the part to be cut.

FusionTutorial01

Next, set the scale to 1:1 by entering "1:1" in the Scale field. This saves us from having to rescale the design after uploading to Big Blue Saw's online quoting and ordering system.

FusionTutorial01

Now you should be able to click in the drawing area of the window to place the outline. As long as it's somewhere in the middle, you're OK.

FusionTutorial01

Click the OK button on the Drawing View dialog.

FusionTutorial01

Fusion 360 should show you a drawing like the one below.

FusionTutorial01

Again, our goal here is to eliminate everything but the outline of the outline of the part. Click the drawing details to select them and press the Delete key to get rid of them.

FusionTutorial01

There's still a drawing border left. Click anywhere on that and press Delete on your keyboard to get rid of that as well.

FusionTutorial01

You should now have a drawing, scaled 1:1, containing just the outline of the part to cut.

FusionTutorial01

Next, we should save the drawing for later access. If we update the part model, this drawing will update automatically. From the menu, choose File | Save or press Ctrl-S.

FusionTutorial01

The Save dialog will prompt you for a name for the file. Choose a name wisely so that you can remember it later. Click the Save button when done.

FusionTutorial01

We're in the home stretch here, and ready to save a DXF file for Big Blue Saw's online quoting system. From the toolbar, click on the Output button and choose Output Sheet as DXF from the drop down menu.

FusionTutorial01

A save dialog will appear which lets you save the DXF file anywhere on your computer. Be sure to choose a memorable name for the file and remember what directory you saved it to.

FusionTutorial01

The DXF drawing file can be uploaded to Big Blue Saw's online quoting system for an instant quote.

FusionTutorial01

Need special materials or have other requests for your order? Our customer advocates are standing by to help you. Just email us at info@bigbluesaw.com, call 678-929-7294 (678-WAY-SAW4), or contact us through the website!

If you're using Creo and need custom parts from Big Blue Saw, we've got you covered. Using the technique below, you will be able to export a clean DXF file from Creo that includes just the outline of the part to cut, suitable for use with Big Blue Saw's instant quoting system, as well as other laser, waterjet and CAM system. Our online quoting system needs a file that has just the outline of the design to be made, with no extra lines or annotations. Following this step-by-step procedure will create a drawing file which automatically updates every time the part updates, making exporting much easier the next time.

This tutorial was created with Creo 7.

Let's start with a typical design for a bracket in Creo as shown below. 

CreoTutorial01

Create a drawing by selecting New from the File menu.

CreoTutorial01

In the dialog that appears, choose Drawing for the file type.You'll also want to fill in an appropriate file name, something easy to recognize and understand. (Read The Best Way to Name Your Files for some tips. My favorite: "Pretend future you will be drunk or senile (or both) when looking at these filenames and make the name easy to understand.")

CreoTutorial01

The New Drawing dialog will appear. Choose Empty for the template to use.

CreoTutorial01

Creo will open a window in Drawing mode.

CreoTutorial01

Click the General View button in the toolbar. The Select Combined State dialog will appear.

CreoTutorial01

Choose No Combined State then click OK.

CreoTutorial01

Click in the drawing area to add the part to the drawing.

CreoTutorial01

Click the Drawing View Information button in the toolbar to show the Drawing View dialog.

CreoTutorial11.1

There are a couple different settings we need to change in this dialog to get a clean DXF output. Click the View Type category, then use the TOP view orientation (or FRONT/RIGHT, depending on how your part is set up).

CreoTutorial01

Under Scale, we need to set the scale to 1 for ease of use with Big Blue Saw's online quoting system.

CreoTutorial01

Under View Display, change the Display Style to Hidden. This will ensure that the DXF file will contain the outline of the part to be cut, with no other lines.

CreoTutorial01

Creo likes to put some extra stuff in the drawing that we don't need. In the Drawing Tree pane, use the drop down menu to see the Layer Tree.

CreoTutorial01

Select all the items in the Layer Tree, right-click, then pick Hide from the menu.

CreoTutorial01

On the Layout tab of the toolbar, click Sheet Setup to see the dialog.

CreoTutorial01

Make sure Show format is unchecked in order to get rid of some more superfluous items. In this case, it's getting rid of the frame around the drawing. Remember, we just want the outline of the part.

CreoTutorial01

The drawing should now  look something like the one shown below.

CreoTutorial01

Next, choose File | Save As | Export from the menu.

CreoTutorial01

The toolbar will change. Select DXF from the list of export types.

CreoTutorial01

Then click the Export button.

CreoTutorial01

You will be prompted for a file name. Make it a name you will remember and can distinguish from all of your files. Also be sure to keep track of where you saved the file!

CreoTutorial01

Now you should have a file ready for Big Blue Saw's online quoting system. Just upload the file and get a quote to have your part made from aluminum, polycarbonate, and dozens more materials.

CreoTutorial01

Once you've got the drawing set up the way you like it, you can easily export again if the design changes. Just click File | Save As | Export on the menu again and follow the steps from there.

Need more help turning your Creo design into a real part? Have some CAD tips that would help our customers? Contact us!

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