Updated: Jul 14, 2021
If you're looking to use a laser cutter or CNC router to make a part, you'll first need to export the design as a vector file. In most cases this is going to have an extension of dxf or svg. I'll talk about how to export svg in a different post but for today we are going to take a look at how to export a dxf file from Fusion 360. Instead of just listing steps, let's walk through the steps required to laser cut the pieces for this cell phone stand.
View the step by step guide below or scroll all the way down to watch the video.
Design your model
It's possible to export existing sketches but a problem with this route is that if you have any construction lines they will be exported as well. In most cases you won't want your construction lines exported. The workflow you'll want to follow is to create your sketches and extrude all your parts. In my case I simply modeled my cell phone holder exactly the way I want it to look in its assembled state.
Create a sketch on the surface of the part you want to export
Click on the Sketch menu and select Create Sketch and then click on the surface of the body you want to export. This will create a sketch on that surface and you should see a new sketch icon on your browser. Now simply click on Stop Sketch on your toolbar. It doesn't look like you did anything but the sketch you just created captured all the geometry from that body. You can verify this by hiding all the bodies and and every sketch besides the one you just created. Hover your mouse over the sketch and you'll see all the captured geometry.
Save as DXF
Right click on the new sketch you created and select Save as DXF. You can now import the dxf file into whatever software you use to send the part to be laser cut or CNC'd. In my case, I opened the file in Adobe Illustrator and printed to an Epilog Laser Cutter. Other popular software used with laser cutters are Corel Draw and Inkscape.
Here's a video of the entire process. Learn how to design your own creations for 3D Printing other desktop fabrication tools by visiting desktopmakes.com.
My big aha! moment with Fusion 360 happened when I finally understood how to use Constraints. Get my free Fusion 360 Constraint Cheat Sheet and see what I mean.