Software to do "engineering drawings" that exports to SVG?


I’m used to using engineering modelling software like Solidworks & Shaprd3d. Using those, I know I have the option of exporting an stl, then use something like meshcam to turn that into gcode, import into easel, etc etc.

However, it also seems easier to just be able to draw the profile somewhere, convert it into an SVG, and then import that. Less steps! Problem is I can’t do the illustrator/vector graphic drawing type thing.

I’m used to the engineering sketches like “draw a straight line. Specify it is 50mm. Draw another line and specify it is perpendicular to the first line.”

So. I’m wondering if people know of software that can do that style of engineering sketching, and will spit out an SVG file?

I’ve found various options to convert bitmap images to SVGs, but my one experience with those was about 10 years ago, and it wasn’t a good experience.

Also, I won’t mind paying a modest sum for the software, it’s more that I don’t want to plonk the money down for something which doesn’t do what I want it to do. :\

Also, I’m using a Mac. I can run stuff in a Windows VM if necessary, so that’s not a major restriction.

I’d appreciate any suggestions!

Thank you

I have Rhino3D 5 and wondered if Rhino 6 has been updated to handling SVG files. According to this is does. But not mac I guess.

not sure if its what you are really looking for but i use Corel Draw. i bought a copy when i was a member at TechShop and was able to laser cut things there.

You can create sketches in Fusion 360, then export as *.dxf (Easel can import *.dxf files). Fusion may also be able to do *.svg, not sure.

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Any Bézier curve / vector editor will work well for this sort of thing.

Cenon is a CAD/CAM program which has made the leap to opensource and general drawing and having started out on NeXTstep runs very well on Mac OS X:

Draftsight is an AutoCAD clone available for Mac OS X:

Them and a couple of other apps are listed at:

Serif’s Affinity Designer is quite nice, but is a commercial app — it and a few other options are listed at:

If you use Fusion 360 (as I do), then a convenient way to export to a SVG file is to install the Shaper Origin plugin which makes that easy - even if you don’t have a Shaper Origin router (I don’t).


Main issue I’ve found with the few vector editors is that I haven’t figured out how to do things like setting specific dimensions, angles, etc. Or I’ve been told it’s not possible…

That said, I haven’t come across any of those you’ve mentioned… I’m going to poke. Just been trying Cenon, and that’s looking promising. I’ll need to do a bit more calculations than what I’m used to, but adding pixel locations isn’t onerous.

I’ll check our Draftsight next.

Thank you!

Why not just export the dxf from whatever solid modeling program you’re using?

The one I’m using at the moment is shapr3d, and whilst it’s brilliant, it doesn’t support export to dxf yet. :frowning:

One day it might, then I’ll start paying for the pro version of the app, but until then…

For specific dimensions or angles I’ve always just turned on snap to point, made rectangles and lines of appropriate dimensions / rotations, dragged them into alignment on a background layer, then drawn on top of them.

For simple stuff I’ll just use suitable rectangles/circles and use Boolean operations to make something directly out of them.

I’ve never used shapr3d, but looks like you could export a STEP file for use in a CAD program that can create dxf files.
For simple 2D stuff, you might look at tinkercad which will create an SVG from an stl, though I think you’ll lose detail.