Preferred File Formats
The preferred formats that we like to have from customers would be anything of a CAD base, whether it be a DXF file, DWG file, IGES files, even 3D models in Solid Works or Inventor files. IPT files we can use, we can even do STEP files which is more of a universal file for a 3D model. Probably the most common would be a DXF file, probably the biggest issue in formatting when we get files is making sure that it was actually drawn to scale.
We will get a lot in, when we check it out all the information is there but it is not scaled correctly. So we end up having to go back and measure some of the dimensions to make sure that we are going to be cutting this part to the right size.
File preparation you have to actually, if you don’t have a DXF or a DWG, you only get a picture. First you have to draw it, once you draw it you can save it out as a DXF in our system. Once you save it as a DXF, to be able to run it in our software you bring that DXF in. You can program it and put it into a nest to be cut and then send it out to the laser.
A nest is a program of multiple parts that you put onto a certain sized sheet of material that you want to cut, it could be one piece, it could be hundreds of different part numbers that you can manipulate onto a sheet. The way to optimise it the software we use, PEP, does a pretty good job of that. It will look ahead and make sure that when it is going to cut these parts, it reduces the amount of times the head has to come up, it keeps its rapid moves from part to part as short as possible.
So it does a really good job of checking out to make sure that you are getting it as fast as possible. I would tell them first off make sure it is a CAD drawing, a DXF, that makes everything go a lot faster, it is a lot easier. Make sure everything is scaled and if it is going to be a formed part in the end. If they can give us a 3D model of the part that makes it a lot easier.