Exporting files as dwg or dxf?


(Joe Babb) #1

Hi folks,
I finally bought Rhino. what a great program. I’ve been using it a bunch for ornamental iron designs.
Now I need to export my drawing so that I can send it to a steel supplier to cut out pieces from a plate.
When I do an export as a dwg or dxf file, the resulting file turns out blank. I don’t know anything about AutoCad so I don’t know how to edit any of the settings. I am probably missing something simple. Help?
What I’m doing is taking a 2D drawing from the top view and selecting the things I’ve drawn.

(Wim Dekeyser) #2

Can you post your 3dm file here?

When you select all those “things” that you have drawn, what does Rhino say you have selected?
The best way to get support here is by uploading your 3dm file! This is a helpful community :wink: but you might end up writing a book to convey the same message as a simple file…

(Joe Babb) #3

base-anvil-plates.3dm (28.4 KB)

I think I’ve attached the file. This is a very simple thing with a 2’x3’ rectangle and 9 25"x11.5" rectangles surrounded by a 4’x8’ rectangle. In the command it says to select the items and then press enter. I drag the cursor over all the rectangles so that they are high lighted, and press enter. Come to think of it I’ve never looked at the line where Rhino says what happened as a result.

(Wim Dekeyser) #4

When I open that file and export the curves to DXF, I get the following file - which imports fine back into Rhino…
base-anvil-plates.dxf (169.3 KB)

(Joe Babb) #5

yes, when I took that file I could import it into Rhino. But my steel supplier is not using Rhino. He’s probably using AutoCad. When I import the file into a drawing package like DraftSight it is indeed blank.
I’ve got a friend who has AutoCad. I’ll send him the file and see what his reaction is.


The entities are black, which, won’t show up against the AutoCAD default Black background. Change the entity color, or have your customer do a “Select All” and change the entity color themselves.

(Joe Babb) #7

Thanks for the hint about the entity color. That is very likely the problem I was having with DraftSight as it’s default background is black in “model” space, but I found I could see the things in “layout”. Never have understood the concepts of model vs layout.
But I did send the dxf file (which it turns out is what my steel supplier wants) to a friend with AutoCad and he was able to open it and see the thing properly scaled. He put a dimension on it and saved it as a pdf file and sent it back to me so I could verify that he saw it correctly. So I think I am okay at this point. But I will change the color of the entities which maybe will avoid future issues.
One other question though. I’ve used the default settings for exporting. Hopefully this should be okay? Again I don’t know about AutoCad and really don’t want to have to learn about it.
Many thanks, for the help.


If you work with curves/splines at some point you may need to convert them to arcs to be compatible with CNC cutting (ie plasma, laser, waterjet,)


(Joe Babb) #9

Thanks for this suggestion. I am thinking that the best way to work with this is to work with my steel supplier if I can. I’ll try to develop a good working relationship with them so that they can flag me when they see issues. Sound right?


The supplier should tell you if they have to convert splines to arcs for their equipment. There are some tolerance settings in the conversion and its better to do it yourself so you can see how they convert.

However, I have seen cases where that doesn’t happen, and the spline gets converted to a polyline, with lots of little line segments, so you see a facetted edge on the part.

So it might be a good idea to clear that up before you send them a job cutting curves.

(Joe Babb) #11

Thank you very much. I’ll keep that in mind as I have a project coming up where I’ll be using some free form curves. This current one is just straight lines.