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Old Dec 03, 2012, 11:57 AM
WMD
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Noob question: CAD file formats and Outerzone

Hi. I have never posted here, I'm not a CAD user (as yet, though I am trying to learn) I spend all my time over on the vintage forum. I have a noob question which is basically this: what file format should I use to post CAD plans of vintage models on Outerzone? As a standard format that will work for everyone?

The long version of the question is this:

I know a bit about Photoshop, bitmaps and PDF plans, but I know squat about CAD. I run the Outerzone site, which is a free site for users to download vintage and old-timer plans in PDF format. The address is www.outerzone.co.uk and we have 3,717 plans on there so far. That seems to work fine, and PDF is a standard that everyone seems to like and to understand, and to be able to use. Now. I would like to add the facility to let users download plans as CAD files too, where they exist. I am particularly thinking of the hogalised plans that hogal does in TurboCAD. He exports them to PDF and that's great and users love his plans. But some CAD fans would like the original CAD file too, so they could run with it and do more CAD stuff to it. TurboCAD native format is um... tcw but that seems unlikely to be popular. I guess DXF and DWG are the best formats?

Bear in mind I have no idea how this works. Are there legacy issues with the file formats and the software that opens them, that I need to get right?

Basically, I hope and expect to upload a few hundred CAD plans over the coming months, and I'm hoping I can do it in the right format, not have to come back and fix them all again later.

So. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any help and/or suggestions,

Steve
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 12:15 PM
Laser Cutter Guy
United States, PA, Greensburg
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DXF best, DWG Second. Save them as a 2000 format and most anyone can use them
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 01:56 PM
WMD
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Thanks.

Ok, next question: I'm looking now at the save options that I get offered... should I use 2000/ASCII/dxf or 2000/Binary/dxf?

This is me using DraftSight at the moment, as a file converter.
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 02:03 PM
Laser Cutter Guy
United States, PA, Greensburg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WMD View Post
Thanks.

Ok, next question: I'm looking now at the save options that I get offered... should I use 2000/ASCII/dxf or 2000/Binary/dxf?

This is me using DraftSight at the moment, as a file converter.
Not 100% sure on that one, I would think 2000/ASCII/dxf would be the appropriate choice. FWIW, I am running ACAD2013 and I only have an option for DXF. There is no note of ASCII or Binary.
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 02:52 PM
WMD
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Ok. I've just saved the file twice, as both of those options, and then tried using my bargain basement copy of TurboCAD16 to open both files. It fails twice.

Of course, this may be a problem with DraftSight, or TurboCAD, or indeed me. But it does neatly illustrate exactly what I am trying to avoid.

Is TurboCAD famous for not opening stuff?
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:00 PM
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More programs will open the ASCII, than the binary, since binary is a newer format. I think the Binary is better on more complicated drawings. For basic model plans, I don't think it would make any significant difference.
I have an old Turbocad for Mac, it was a little picky on file types. I don't think they where very good at writing the filters to open the files. I'd check to see if there is an update to the software.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 12:46 AM
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2000 ASCII .dxf is the way to go.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 05:38 AM
WMD
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Thanks guys. Ok, so if DXF is the format of choice, I have a test file here... I've uploaded a test file onto Outerzone, uncompressed, as a DXF file. I can't upload it here in that format and at that size. It is over 4MB. I didn't make this one, its just hogal exporting straight out from TCv17 to DXF:

http://www.outerzone.co.uk/advanced/..._bay/index.asp

Could you please help me out by trying to open that and let me know if it's ok? If everyone can open and use that file... then we're done, and I'll just use that as the format.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 08:27 AM
Laser Cutter Guy
United States, PA, Greensburg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WMD View Post
Thanks guys. Ok, so if DXF is the format of choice, I have a test file here... I've uploaded a test file onto Outerzone, uncompressed, as a DXF file. I can't upload it here in that format and at that size. It is over 4MB. I didn't make this one, its just hogal exporting straight out from TCv17 to DXF:

http://www.outerzone.co.uk/advanced/..._bay/index.asp

Could you please help me out by trying to open that and let me know if it's ok? If everyone can open and use that file... then we're done, and I'll just use that as the format.
Opened fine in ACAD 2013
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 08:50 AM
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It opened right up in ACAD 2009 & the current release of DraftSight (V1R3) for me.

Scott Smith
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 10:17 AM
WMD
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Thanks guys, it may simply be the case that all programs except TurboCAD are fine with this. I guess that's fine.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 11:24 AM
Just call me crash for short
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Works with QCAD and LibreCAD as well. This will be a great addition to Outerzone. Having CAD files takes a LOT of work out of the process getting cut files to the CNC machine. Just a shame all 3000+ plans there don't have CAD drawings with them. Dose hogal take requests?

When I get around to booting up my micro$oft box here in a bit, I'll see how Sketchup imports it as well and post back

Mark

Edit - Imported into Sketchup, some broken lines and no text, but usable with a little work. This is of no surprise, as Sketchup has a rotten and broke-back dxf importer that almost never gets it right. All in all, I would say that your chosen format is just fine and will make a bunch of people rather happy.
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Last edited by Quick61; Dec 04, 2012 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Fired up winblows box
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 02:23 PM
Slopeaholic
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Opened fine in Autosketch 10. It had to flatten the 3d elements but that's totally normal as Autosketch is a 2D only program.

-hutch
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 03:20 PM
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looks fine in Bobcad V23, and V24, also VisualCam 1.
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Last edited by Roto Rob; Dec 05, 2012 at 04:32 AM.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 06:59 PM
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I've worked with CAD and drawing programs for most of my adult life and this has always been a perpetual thorn in the side. Even though dxf was supposed to be a common file exchange type I always seem to encounter something that is wonky. To be honest unless you are posting the files in a CAD format with the intention of letting a user modify them, I think a pdf file is an excellent alternative. Print and go. I think the pdf relieves the user of neeeding the right app to open a file.
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