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How to transfer Autocad drawings for use in Solidworks software

Written By: Adrian Dunevein

How to prepare Autocad drawing borders for use in Solidworks.

If you have begun using Solidworks for your 3D modeling its quite likely you have amassed lots of Autocad drawings over the years. More than likely, you would like to continue using the same look and feel in the drawing borders you make in Solidworks.

You can import Autocad drawing borders into Solidworks but there is some preparation you should do before attempting it. This preparation will make sure that you can copy back to Autocad in the future with minimal problems. Lets assume you have opened a sample Autocad drawing and you have the entire drawing border visible on the screen.

Start by making sure your drawing border and title block, bill of material and revision blocks are the only things visible. You can leave text in the title blocks, you can always edit it later in Solidworks. Same applies to drawing numbers, revision numbers and any other textual information that might need to be placed on every drawing you create.

Make sure your drawing border is the actual size it is supposed to be. If this is a D size drawing for example, draw a rectangle 24 x 36 around the drawing border and see if the border fits inside. If not, scale the border until it does. Locate the lower left corner of the rectangle you have drawn and move it and the whole drawing border, rectangle and all to location 0,0,0 in model space or paper space.

Next, transfer every drawing entity including text, linework and graphics to layer zero (0). You can keep the old layers but it may cause you grief in the future if you have to convert a Solidworks drawing back to Autocad. Keeping everything on one layer will make conversions as simple as possible. Make sure you purge the Autocad drawing after converting everything to one layer.

Converting everything to one layer may require that you explode certain blocks in your drawing so that you can reset their entities to layer zero. You may then want to reconstruct those blocks or leave them exploded. Solidworks can read your text attributes and blocks if you choose to reconstruct them. If you have any polylines in your drawing border, explode them also. Leave linework simple and adjust the line thickness later within Solidworks.

You should now be able to open the Autocad drawing in Solidworks and the Solidworks conversion wizard will guide you through the drawing border creation process. Once your border is visible on the screen in Solidworks you can edit copy the whole thing, right click edit sheet format and edit paste the whole border into Solidworks version of paper space. Then file save as new sheet format and you are ready to go!

About the Author

Adrian Dunevein is owner of AAA Drafting Services (www.aaadrafting.com)in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. He has been a mechanical designer for 18 years and uses solidworks 2005 professional for 3D modelling and mechanical drafting

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