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You may have seen our earlier article on turning your Fusion 360 design into a real part using Big Blue Saw. As soon as that article was published, all the Fusion 360 fans out there let us know that there is a much easier way to get the job done. 

Based on a recent informal survey, Fusion 360 is very popular among both our professional and hobbyist clients. Hobbyists love that it's  free for personal use, and pros dig the expansive power of its built in tools for PCB design, sculpting, and generative design. After you've created your design with Fusion 360, how do you turn those designs into real parts made from aluminum, polycarbonate plastic, or another material? That's what this tutorial is about.

(Note: as I was creating this tutorial, Autodesk changed the terms of use for Fusion 360 in the hobbyist edition. Fortunately the techniques described here should still work with the free hobbyist license.)

In this tutorial, we'll look at two different procedures for making a DXF file for use with Big Blue Saw's online ordering system. The simplest procedure applies if you already have a sketch in the part design with the complete outline of the part. If you don't have a sketch with the outline of the complete part, there's easy procedure you can follow to get a clean DXF file.

If You Already Have A Sketch

Below is a bracket design, the type of part we make every day here at Big Blue Saw. 

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Note that this part is an extrusion of a single sketch. You can click the sketch in the browser to see it highlighted in the main view of the part.

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Right clicking on the sketch should give you a menu with the option to save the sketch as a DXF. Very conventiently, the DXFs that Fusion 360 makes are scaled 1:1 with no extraneous lines, formatting, or other marks. This is exactly what we need for Big Blue Saw's online quoting system. Thanks Fusion developers!

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When you click Save as DXF,  the save dialog will appear. Choose a filename for the DXF export that you'll remember, and don't forget to note which folder you saved it in.

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Now you can upload the design to Big Blue Saw's website for an instant quote and online ordering!

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If You Don't Have a Sketch

Now let's take a look at a different part. This is also the type of thing we make every day here at Big Blue Saw.

But the way it's designed in Fusion 360 is a little different. In this case, the part is designed by combining several sketches as well as using the Hole and FIllet tools to make features on the finished part. We don't have a single sketch with just the outline of the piece. Another way you might find youself in this situation (not having a single sketch) is if you import a design from another CAD program.

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We can verify that the sketch doesn't outline the entire part. By clicking on one of the sketches in the browser, you can see that it's just the design for the tab on the left.

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We'll need to make a new sketch that can be exported as a DXF file.  Fusion 360 makes this easy. Right click on the top face of the part to show the context menu and click Create Sketch.

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This will make a new sketch and put Fusion into sketch mode. The features of the part are automatically projected into the new sketch.

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Click the Finish Sketch button on the toolbar to get out of sketch mode.

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Your new sketch will appear in the browser.

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Right click the new sketch and pick Save as DXF.  

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The save dialog will appear. Choose a filename for the DXF export that you'll remember, and don't forget to note which folder you saved it in.

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Now you're ready to upload the DXF file to Big Blue Saw's instant quoting system to order your part to be made from aluminum, stainless steel, polycarbonate plastic, or dozens of other materials!

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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!