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Best Files for CAD and Prints

Q: What are the best file types to send concerning CAD and prints?

A: Sometimes a customer may only have one kind of file available, such as a print in PDF format, and they don't have access to any other formats. Occasionally, security issues or intellectual property controls mean that only a print can be sent (and not the CAD). We understand these constraints and do our best to work with whatever file types are provided.

That being said, it is important to note that the more information we receive concerning your parts and projects the better. It is best to provide the full print and the CAD model. In situations where there is only CAD and no print, things like tolerance, finish, etc… will need to be communicated through other means (these types of things are often not discernible from the CAD alone). Another viable option becoming more popular is to supply the CAD along with reduced content drawings. The drawings are used to address issues not obvious in the CAD.

For Prints:​

We prefer PDFs or SolidWorks SLDDRW files (Arrow’s primary CAD platform is SolidWorks). However, we can also use DXF and DWG files. One potential drawback of a PDF format is that it can be difficult to measure accurately if there are missing dimensions. For this reason, we recommend sending the CAD model along with the prints. Please note: If SolidWorks SLDDRW files are sent, please remember to also send any associated SolidWorks SLDPRT and SLDASM files as well.​

For the CAD models:

We prefer SolidWorks SLDPRT (part) and SLDASM (assembly) files. If these are unavailable, or if the parts were created in a different CAD program, we can use any of the standard 3D solid modeling files such as STEP, IGES, X_T (parasolid) or SAT files. If SolidWorks SLDASM files are sent, please remember to also send all the associated SolidWorks SLDPRT files as well.

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