From time to time in the land of CAD Monkeys, you need to convert a PDF to a DXF.
There are many packages out there that will do it for you, but they all cost money. The quality and ease of use varies from package to package, but the end product rarely seems to differ.
I was hit with this problem during the week, and like I said in a previous post, money is tight so I needed a free and legal solution. A friend showed me how export a PDF as a DXF in Adobe Illustrator, so I wondered if there was an open source alternative to Illustrator. After a bit of searching, I rediscovered Inkscape.
Now, I am in no way comparing Adobe Illustrator with Inkscape. I have no real experience with either of them. What Inkscape has in common with Illustrator is that it can open PDF files and export DXF files. Best of all, Inkscape is free!
I started Inkscape and opened my PDF. I then did a save as and selected Desktop Cutting Plotter (R13) (*.dxf) The resulting DXF, when opened in your CAD package ( I mentioned some low cost ones here ), is mirrored and may need to be scaled up depending on your requirements. I presume that the DXF is mirrored as the DXF output is meant for use as a cutting template.
A few of things should be noted.
- The first is that this only seems to work on PDF’s that were originally created from vector drawing packages, i.e. they were originally CAD drawing.
- It does not convert text on the drawing to editable text in your CAD package.
- It is not perfect, remember to check and then check again once it is converted to a DXF.
So that's it, a relatively quick, simple and free way to convert a PDF file to a DXF. If anyone else knows of a better way to do this, please comment below as I would love to know about it.