Review of DXF-Elements, commands and dialog-boxes

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 the DXF drawing in your CAD:

Remove hidden lines
Explode all Blocks
Save the DXF drawing as 'Release 12', or as early as is available.

Add a DXF element to the Assembly-Tree

1.Do File menu > Open

In the Windows® 'File Open' interface,

2.Set the 'File of type' filter to DXF files (*.dxf)
3.Explore to find a DXF drawing file
4.Click the Open button

Do 1 to 4 again and again to open more DXF Files.

DXF element in the Assembly-Tree


The DXF element in the Assembly-Tree:

It is represented by the AT-DXFElement element
You open many DXF drawings to 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.


Open the DXF element dialog-box.

To open the DXF element dialog-box

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

- or - See 'How to edit an element'


DXF element dialog-box:

You can:

1.Click the Browse button, or the DXF File name box
2.Find and select a different DXF Drawing file
3.Click the Apply button ApplyButton-Small to update the link to the DXF file.

DXF Units

To apply the correct scale to the drawing:

Click the units of the drawing in the original DXF Drawing

[mm], [m], [cm], [inch].

Close the dialog:

1.Click the TickSmall

CAD-Line element

We edit a CAD-Line to link it with the DXF-Element and DXF-Drawing.

The CAD-Line is a child to a Part.

CAD-Lines in the Graphic-Area

CAD-Lines in the Graphic-Area

CAD-Line : in the Graphic-Area

CAD-Lines 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


Now there is a DXF element in the Assembly-Tree, we can link the DXF drawing to a CAD-Line.

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.

CAD-Line dialog-box : DXF tab

Select DXF Element


1.Click the Select DXF element down-arrow1s-red
2.Select a DXF element and drawing from the list

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.

Align DXF to CAD-Line


The default alignment may be as you intend. However, you can edit the alignment of the DXF drawing with the CAD-Line.

To re-align the DXF drawing:

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 2to43 again.

Convert DXF 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.

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.

Tutorial and Reference Help Files for MechDesigner and MotionDesigner 13.2 + © Machine, Mechanism, Motion and Cam Design Software by PSMotion Ltd