Summary of DXF commands and dialog-box

If you have a DXF Drawing, then you can use a CAD-Line to show the DXF Drawing.

Do two steps to show the DXF drawing:

STEP 1:   Use File menu > Open DXF File

STEP 2:   Use a CAD-Line, to open the CAD-Line dialog-box, to link the DXF-Drawing with the CAD-Line.


Before you save a DXF drawing in your CAD:

Remove hidden lines [if saved from a 3D-CAD package].
Explode all Blocks.

Save the DXF drawing as 'Release 12', or as early as is available.

The DXF element and DXF element dialog box:

tog_minus        File menu > Open DXF-Drawing

Note: Explode all blocks in the original DXF drawing before you save it in your CAD software.


1.Do File menu [or toolbar]> Open DXF File... [or R13: File menu > File open : Choose 'File of type' : DXF files (*.dxf)]
2.In the Windows 'Open file' dialog, explore to and find the DXF-Drawing
3.Click the 'Open' button

Do 1 to 3 again and again to open more DXF Files.

tog_minus        DXF element dialog-box


The DXF element in the Assembly-Tree:

It is represented by the DXF Element icon icon
You can add many DXF elements to the Assembly-Tree.
Top-Tip: rename the DXF element to the DXF drawing name.

In the image to the left, there are three DXF-Elements. Two DXF element have been renamed.





To open the DXF element dialog-box

1.Double-click a DXF element in the Assembly-Tree

- or -

2.Click a DXF-element in the Assembly-Tree
3.Right-Click the DXF element in the Selection-Window
4.Click 'Edit'.. in the contextual menu

DXF-element dialog-box:

You can:

1.Click the Browse button to search and select a different DXF-Drawing
2.Click the Apply button to link the new DXF Drawing with the DXF element.

DXF File name and DXF Path are Read-only boxes of the DXF file you choose.

DXF: Units

To make sure the scale of the drawing is correct in MechDesigner:

Click the radio-button with the units that are in the original DXF Drawing.

CAD-Line element

We link the DXF drawing to the CAD-Line.

The CAD-Line is a child to a Part.

We can find the CAD-Line in the graphic-area and the Assembly-Tree

CAD-Lines in the Graphic-Area

CAD-Lines in the Graphic-Area

CAD-Line : in the Graphic-Area

CAD-Line are Dark Green.
MechDesigner adds a CAD-Line1s-red along the centre of each Added-Part, from its start-Point to its end-Point.
Use the Part-Editor and Add CAD-Line to add more CAD-Lines2s, with
CAD-Lines have an Origin (0,0)3s and a positive X-axis4s direction.
The origin of the CAD-Line is the start-Point [where you mouse-button-down] and the X-axis is the direction you drag to add the Part or CAD-Line, towards the end-Point.
The start-Point / Origin3s and +X-axis4s direction are obvious in an Added-Part
When you add your own CAD-Line, you must remember which Point is the start-Point. The Point at the Origin is always the start-Point.

CAD-Line : in the Assembly-Tree

The CAD-Line is the only sketch-element to show in the Assembly-Tree.
The CAD-Line is a child to a Part.

See 1s-red and 2s, which are both children to Part3.

CAD-Lines in the Assembly-Tree

CAD-Lines in the Assembly-Tree


CAD-Line dialog-box

tog_minus        To open the CAD-Line dialog-box


Edit a CAD-Line

1.Double-Click a CAD-Line in the Part-Editor or the Mechanism-Editor.

- or -

1.Click a DXF-element in the Assembly-Tree
2.Right-Click the DXF element in the Selection-Window
3.Click 'Edit'.. in the contextual menu

MechDesigner opens the CAD-Line dialog-box.

tog_minus        CAD-Line dialog : DXF Element Selection


To select a DXF element:

1.Click the DXF tab
2.Click the Select DXF element down-arrow1s-red
3.Use the drop-down and click a DXF element

When you select a DXF element, the DXF-Drawing shows immediately in the 'DXF Element box and the graphic-area.

Each DXF element name in the Select DXF Element drop-down list box1s-red has two parts:

DXF element name -  the name of the DXF element in the Assembly-Tree
DXF Drawing name - the Cad-file-name of the DXF-Drawing

Default Alignment of the DXF-Drawing with the CAD-Line

The DXF-Drawing aligns its 0,0 and positive X-axis with the start-Point and positive X-axis direction of the CAD-Line.

If you cannot see the DXF Drawing, try to find it...

Zoom-out to see if the DXF-Drawing is larger than the workspace.
Zoom-in to see if the DXF-Drawing is very small
Change the background colour of the graphic-area. Use Application Settings dialog > Graphics tab > Graphic Colours | Background | Grey is frequently a good colour.

If necessary use the:

Edit Layers button2s to open the DXF Layers dialog-box
Clear Link button3s to remove the DXF File from the CAD-Line.

tog_minus        CAD-Line dialog: Align the DXF Drawing with the CAD-Line - optional


To change the default alignment of the CAD-Line

1.Click the Align DXF to CAD-Line separator to expand
2.Click in the 'DXF Point at CAD-Line's Origin' box - see image left - and it becomes Orange

In the graphic-area:

3.Click a Point in the DXF Drawing to move it to the Origin of the CAD-Line.
When you select a Point in the DXF Drawing: 
The Point's name shows in the box
The 'DXF Point to CAD-Line's Origin' box becomes Green, and
The 'DXF Point to CAD-Line's X-axis' box becomes Orange

In the graphic-area:

4.Click a Point in the DXF Drawing that you want to align with the X-axis and CAD-Line.
The Point's name shows in the box
The 'DXF Point to CAD-Line's on X-Axis' box becomes Green,

If you want to align the DXF with different Points, do steps 1 to 3 again.

tog_minus        CAD-Line dialog: Convert DXF Entities to MD Lines and Arcs


The DXF Entities - Lines, Arcs, Circles, Points - that show in the graphic-area are 'dumb'.

You can convert these DXF Entities to MechDesigner sketch-elements.

To Convert a DXF Entity to a sketch-element:

1.Click in the 'DXF Entity' box to make it active
2.Click a 'DXF Entity' (a DXF Line or DXF Arc) in the graphic-area
3.As options:
Select a different 'Owner Part'. (However, usually, sketch-elements are on the same Part as the CAD-Line)
Select the 'Enable-Loop Select' check box, if you want MechDesigner to attempt to find a sketch-loop
Select the 'Free or Locked Points' check box, if you want to fix the Points to the Part.
Optionally, edit the Merge Radius value to help make a sketch-loop with those DXF entities inside the radius
4.Click the Convert Entities button

Repeat 1 to 4 again, and again, to convert more DXF Entities to MechDesigner sketch-elements.


Each time, you must click the 'DXF entity' box in the dialog to make it Orange before you click a DXF Entity in the graphic-area.


When you apply the 'Convert Entities' , the new sketch-elements are not linked with the CAD-Line; they are linked with the Part.

Therefore, you can use Clear DXF Link3s to remove the DXF File, but the sketch-elements stay with the Part.

tog_minus        DXF Filters: Display Elements toolbar> DXF-Outline and Display DXF Points

Two tools in the Display Filters toolbar:


Display DXF Outlines in the graphic-area.

To see a DXF Outline, make sure this icon is 'Toggled IN'. That is, the light bulb is 'ON'

Note: A DXF Outline is a DXF Drawing for display only.


Display DXF Points in graphic-area.

To see DXF Points, make sure this icon is 'Toggled IN'. That is, the light bulb is 'ON'.

When you use the CAD-Line dialog, you may select DXF Points to re-align the DXF Drawing with the CAD-Line.

Sometimes you need to toggle this off, and back on, to see the DXF Points. This is a bug that we are trying to resolve.

Help Files for MechDesigner and MotionDesigner 11.1 + © Machine, Mechanism, Motion and Cam Design Software by PSMotion Ltd