How to Convert Computer-Aided Design Formats Easily

With much of the world, now working from the comforts of their own homes, it is becoming incredibly important for professionals of various industries to learn how to convert files.

how to convert cad format

After all, we can’t expect our colleagues to always use the same software we do. More often than not, you will come across others who use different software, which has its own file format.

In addition to this, different tasks often require varying design formats, thereby making it imperative for professionals to learn how to work with each one. Given this reality, here are some of the ways you can easily convert computer-aided design (CAD) formats:

Common Formats

DXF

The DXF format, which stands for Drawing Interchange Format, is an old format that dates back to when everything used a command line interface that required users to type out text commands.

It’s a pure 2D format that has become pretty universal, but any designer knows that you need a format that supports a fully graphical interface to be successful.

STL

Considered as the universal format for pure 3D information created by 3D Systems, STL is very much loved by most 3D printers and CAM.

Unfortunately, STL only describes the surface geometry of a 3D object and does not represent any color, texture or other common CAD model attributes.

X3D

As the improved successor of VRML, X3D is a royalty-free standard for representing 3D graphics. It supports multi-stage and multi-texture rendering, on top of shading with lightmap and normalmap.

Since X3D is exceptional in showcasing 3D model designs, this format is often used in giving intricate details to models.

Collada

Created as a way to share 3D graphical files over a wide range of software, the interchange 3D CAD file format Collada uses an open standard XML scheme so different graphic software applications can become compatible with each other.

How to convert CAD formats?

Regardless of whatever software you are using, most of them usually have a built-in function that allows users to convert different CAD formats into other kinds.

In addition to this, there are also some online services on the web that can get the job done and help you convert a CAD file to the format you want it to be. For instance, if you are using the popular software AutoCAD, all you have to do is to:

  • Click the ‘Save As’ button from the Quick Access Toolbar or type SAVEAS on the command line.
  • Choose an appropriate file format version from the ‘Files of Type’ drop-down menu.
  • Save the file.

Although the services you will find online may differ from time to time, the steps to convert a file from one format to another are usually as follows:

  • Open the website.
  • Upload the file you are trying to convert.
  • Pick the format you want your file to be turned into.
  • Download the converted file.

Adjusting to a new work set-up can easily turn into a challenging endeavour. Fortunately, the guides to most things can now be easily looked up online. For more easy-to-follow guides and how-tos, check out our previous posts.