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This workshop will provide an introduction to using CAD to design items you can make using the laser cutter. The laser cutter needs an input file of some sort; these can be created using an art-oriented package such as Inkscape, or using a CAD package. Art oriented packages such as Inkscape are typically faster and easier, and usually have a nice user interface. What they don't offer is accuray, and for anything that will be assembled with something else, this accuray is key. This is where CAD comes in.

There are a number of CAD packages you can use - the only requirement for any package is that it can export a .DXF file. This is a common CAD interchange format, and is supported by the vast majority of CAD or vector-based design packages.

This course is based around FreeCAD. FreeCAD is a free and open source 3D CAD package, still under development but already very powerful.

If preferred, you can complete this workshop using an alternative CAD package, however all hints and keyboard shotcuts assume you're using FreeCAD and you will need a basic level of competence in your chosen package before starting.

Alternative CAD programs which Hackla members have experience of are:

Keyboard shortcuts

curser keys to move the view left, right, up and down Ctrl-minus to zoom out Ctrl-Shift-plus to zoom in


Highlight the element you want to select (it will highlight yellow) and left-click. Once selected it will be green Shift-B then left-click and drag to select multiple elements with a box Hold Ctrl and left-click to select multiple elements


Lines,circles, arcs, polygons and others Hold Ctrl to snap Hold Shift to constrain movement to an axis


Move, rotate, scale and others Hold Ctrl to snap Hold Shift to constain movement to an axis Hold Alt to make a copy (don't hold it to modify the original

2dcadworkshop.1391376451.txt.gz · Last modified: 2015-10-05 15:55 (external edit)