Ttransfering Hand Drawning into CAD for sheet metal

I am a new jewelry designer who wants to have some hand drawn designs used to water (or lazer) cut sheet metal. So the designs need to be morphed into CAD or Solidworks, which is what I’ve learned alot of metal fabricators seem to use. What are my options? How much should it cost to have someone do the work for me? Or should I take the plunge and learn AutoCAD and try to rent time on a computer that has it?..if companies even do that. At least for now, the drawings do not require 3D, as the sheet metal will only be pierced/cut.

Thanks for any help with this,

You can probably do this easier in something like adobe illustrator and give them a dxf file. Finding someone to do this is probably easier and cheaper than cad. I did done sheet metal work recently and the shop said they needed cad but I finally figured out all they needed (after a lot if back and forth) was a dxf for the laser/water cutter. Simple.


Yeah, laser cutting and waterjet cutting (in this context anyway) are 2D processes. They don’t need the 3D data that Solidworks would provide. If these are literally hand drawings, you could even scan them and convert to vectors in Illustrator. Then just save that to DXF or DWG. If you’re using splines, save as DWG; depending on the conversion, a DXF file will often chop splines up into tiny line segments. It will take longer to cut and you’ll see the facets.

Are they 3d shapes that you want unfolded/folded into sheet metal? Then you’ll need something like solidworks to create the 2d shapes. If they are just simple flat shapes, then almost any vector program will work.

Thank you all for your help. I will start with Adobe Illustrator.


If you can get me the 2d .dxf file, I can throw it into solidworks for you, if you end up needing it.