12 May 2009

How to Make 3D Alibre Designs from Imported DXF Files

Alibre Design CAD software can import a number of other file formats, including AutoCAD DWG and DXF format 2D drawing files. Alibre is also ACIS based and can import AutoCAD 3D ACIS kernel .SAT files directly. A common question however is how DXF or DWG drawing can be imported into Alibre, constraints applied and used as a base profile for a parametric 3D model directly in Alibre. The question is valid because Alibre imports 2D geometry from DXF and DWG files as 2D drawings, as we will see. To start we will create some (hopefully) simple demonstration geometry in progeCAD as below:

progeCAD can be a good compliment for Alibre, in part for it's very low cost and in part for it's strong support of AutoCAD semantics like pline-polyline entity creation and DXF export. From progeCAD we export this simple profile as a DXF file and import into Alibre from the Alibre toolbar:

However, as every Alibre user well knows, the result of DXF import opens our AutoCAD polyline DXF file as a new 2D drawing - not as a sketch:

The key here is to "Activate 2D Sketch" as shown above. However, our polyline still doesn't seem very flexible. This is because Alibre imports them as symbols which need "exploded" by selecting the shape(s), right clicking on them and selecting "Explode Symbol" as shown here:

Then it is just a matter of "edit-copy" from the drawing window and "paste" into an active model sketch window, where constraints can be applied as desired. Note the nodes now visible at the corners of our former polyline now that we have "exploded" it:

Here is a final result after constraint and boss extrusion in Alibre Design:

CADDIT has recently added free Alibre support to their CAD forum. Feel free to post your comments or just say hi and introduce yourself and your project.

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