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dxf import scale issues

Chris Fleming


I've searched and can't find a thread addressing this, so here goes. When I import dxf files for my drawings (primarily moldings, etc.), they don't come in at the proper size (the size the molding actually is). The file says it is 1/8' scale. However when measured, the moldings are fractions of their actual size. For example, a 5" high molding is 5/8" tall in the file.I've tried importing into 1:1 and 1/8' scale layers. I've tried changing the layer's scale after import. Nothing seems to work. I usually end up grouping, then resizing to approximately the correct size to achieve near visual accuracy. But surely I'm missing something, and there is a way to have the files come in the correct size.


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My guess is that the units the DXF file was created in are different than the units you are using. In the Import Options dialog box check the Unit Settings:

If the objects are about 2 1/2 times too small, they are probably in centimeters. Set the dialog to 2.54 DXF Units = 1"

If the objects are about 25 times too small, they are probably in milimeters. Set the dialog to 25.4 DXF Units = 1"

If the objects are about 12 times to small they are probably in feet. Set the dialog to

1 DXF Units = 1' (that is a foot mark, not an inch mark).


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1:8 is the scale we normally call 1 1/2" = 1' - 0", a common scale for molding details. It may be that they were drawn 1/8 actual size so they would print at 1 1/2" scale without having to use viewports. That method used to be standard practice in Autocad, which doesn't have layer scale. I know of people who still use it to put drawings at two different scales on the same sheet, and I've seen exactly what you described in manufacturer's drawings.

Except for the units issue that Pat mentioned (and none of those would give you a 1:8 reduction), geometry always comes in at the size it was in the DXF file. Layer scale doesn't affect that; it only affects the relationship between virtual geometry and virtual print-out in the VW file. If it's as I suspect, the only solution is what you're doing now, re-sizing with the Scale Objects command. You shouldn't have to group them in order to do that.

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