This section covers a variety of methods of moving designs into eMachineShop CAD from other sources and exporting.


Importing from any CAD via DXF

From another CAD package you can can export a drawing to DXF and then import to eMachineShop CAD. Simple parts can be converted in about 5 minutes:

Importing from a PDF drawing

If you have a drawing in PDF format, first use a PDF to DXF converter. Then follow the method below starting in the eMachineShop CAD.

Direct import of STEP files

The eMachineShop CAD software currently has an alpha-stage capability to import limited very simple 3D and 2D STEP and IGES solid geometries (not 3D curves). Be sure to check the imported design for correctness and completeness. To use this capability simply select File | Import. If this method is not able to import your file please follow the other methods on this page. 

Importing a Turned Shape

If you have a CAD file that can output the cross section of a turned part, consider the following method.

To import a turned shape:

  1. In the other CAD program export the side view profile of your part to DXF format.
  2. Run eMachineShop CAD.
  3. Choose File | Import and import the DXF file.
  4. Select the imported lines and choose Edit | Cut.
  5. Draw a circle with diameter equal to the max part diameter.
  6. Choose Line | Machine | Auto.
  7. Set Z to part length.
  8. Choose View | Front and Edit | Paste.
  9. Move the pasted profile within the light color boundary line to the right of the center axis (if you are using the full side view, divide it in half to show just the right side).
  10. Group the profile.
  11. Set Z to Revolve.
  12. Choose View | 3D to check the 3D view.

    Simplifying an Import

    Imported files often have a large number of small line segments which slow the eMachineShop CAD software and may increase pricing. Therefore, after importing it is recommended to simplify lines. Look on the status bar to see the number of segments. For example if you find a circle made of 100 small line segments you should delete them and draw a primitive circle. In some cases it might be worthwhile to drew new lines over existing ones and the delete the old lines – this will simplify drawings the most.

    Tracing Images

    You can create a design from a physical object or an image of the object using the Tracing feature.

    The following summarizes the above video:

    To import a CAD file to eMachineShop:
    1. In the other CAD program open the design and set scaling to 1:1.
    2. Direct the CAD software to make a drawing of the part using the minimum views that represent all the features. (The needed views correspond to the orientation of the raw material during milling. Start with just one or two key views if you are unsure – you can add other views later if needed.) For 2D parts you only need one view.
    3. Turn off title blocks, dimension lines and all superfluous lines not showing the shape of the part. (If you miss something you can delete the lines in the eMachineShop CAD software.)
    4. Export the drawing to ASCII (not binary) DXF format.
    In the eMachineShop CAD:
    1. File | Import the DXF file and verify that the scaling is correct per the ruler. (If you receive an error, try generating the DXF file by another method before importing.)
    2. Delete any unnecessary projection and guide lines, etc.
    3. Choose the view with the largest area to become the Top view. Select any other views and choose Line | Machine | Comments to Self.
    4. In the Top view click on each line looking for any line that are not closed contours. Add lines as needed and Group them to create non-intersecting closed contours.
    5. For each contour line choose Line | Machine | Auto and add any needed chamfers or other edge effects.
    6. For each contour line set the Z value (positive for protrusions, negative for recesses, Air Inside for thru features).
    7. Check View | 3D.
    8. For each additional view: cut and paste lines from the Top view to the appropriate Front, Back, Left, Right, or Bottom views; align with the projection lines; choose Tools | Compute | Projection Compliment; and set the Z value of each line.
    9. Select View | 3D and resolve any error messages.


    Exporting is the process of converting a design into another file format. You can export an eMachineShop CAD file to STL format.

    If you have trouble exporting to STL, try these techniques:

    • When one line shape is partly co-linear with another, try moving the smaller shape away from the other one by a small distance or using the Line | Contour feature to expand or contract the line a small amount and delete the original line.
    • You might need to remove near edge chamfer (bevel) or round  settings.
    • When a contour has splines, if the splines are not considered closed, try using Line | Convert Splines To Arcs.
    • When a contour has many small segments, try using Line | Simplify.
    • Remove thread and bend lines.
    • When the shape of a part is primarily a turned shape (like a chess pawn) but is not designed with the Revolve feature, try Tools | Convert To Revolve.
    • When a contour has arc to arc connections, try adding a small straight segment between the arcs. 
    • Consider making a copy of the design file and removing some features to isolate the problem.


    To export a design file from eMachineShop to STL:

    1. Create your design in the eMachineShop CAD Software.
    2. Choose File | Export to STL.
    3. Import the STL file into your 3D printer software.