3D Printed PCB Enclosure

gEDA to Autodesk Inventor

In this tutorial we will show you how to create an enclosure for your board by using the pcb you designed in gEDA, importing it into Autodesk Inventor, and extruding the shapes to make it ready for 3D printing.


The benefit of importing the design is that it will be faster and easier than entering the outline and drill hole coordinates manually.

It also makes it easier to view areas where you may need access to pins from the top. You could design the top piece of the enclosure to have room to see those pins.

If you do not use gEDA, check with your design program to see if it can export the pcb as a .dxf or .eps file. If it can, you can follow the steps below on how to import it into Autodesk Inventor.

We will assume that you have a final pcb design ready. Let’s get started!

Step 1


In gEDA, go to File > Export > eps.
Check the options for ‘as shown’ and ‘only-visible’.

Step 2


With the new .eps file, open it in Inkscape. These are the import settings to use.

Step 3


Double click on the group to access its paths. Now click on a path (preferably an outline path), and record what its measurement is in inches. This will come in handy later on.

Step 4


Go to File > Save as > Desktop Cutting Plotter (R13) (*.dxf).
The next window shows the export settings.

Step 5


Open Autodesk Inventor. Create a new part.
With the new part, create a new 2D sketch.
Inside of the sketch, press the ACAD button to insert AutoCAD documents.

Step 6


Choose the .dxf file that we exported from Inkscape.
Press Next on the import options window.

Step 7


Make sure the specified units are in inches.
Press Finish.

Step 8


With the imported design now in the sketch, locate the same path as you did in Step 3.
Press Dimension, and select the chosen path.
Enter in the measurement that you recorded from Step 3.
Press the green check mark, it may take a few seconds for the design to be resized.

Step 9


After the design has been resized, double click on the dimension to view the measurement.
Double check that this measurement is correct.

Step 10


For the mounting holes that you want to extrude out of the enclosure, add crosshairs and a circle.
Repeat for each mounting hole.

Step 11


Exit out of the current sketch.
Press Create 2D Sketch.
Select the same plane as the previous sketch we were working on.

Step 12


Project the outlines from Sketch 1.
Toggle the visibility of Sketch 1 by right clicking on the sketch in the sidebar, and selecting visible.

Step 13


Right click on the projected lines and select ‘Break Link’.
Repeat for all of the projected lines.

Step 14


Now you can start designing your enclosure.
We created an offset of 1mm of the original shape, as buffer space for the pcb to fit into it.
Similar for the mounting holes, but 0.6mm of buffer space.
The wall thickness will be 2mm.

Step 15


Exit out of the sketch.
Now extrude the base and buffer space. (Don’t forget the buffer space!)
We went with 1.5mm, but you may not need as much of a 3D printed base.

The more tall it is, the more strong it will be (to a point), but it will also make it look way bigger than it needs to be.

Step 16


Now extrude the wall to however tall you will want it to be.

Step 17


From here, you can go on to do whatever you would like with your design!
Maybe add clips so that it can attach to a top piece.
We will be adding descriptive text on the bottom.

Step 18


When you are finally done with your design,
Click the big Inventor ‘I’ once.
Go to Save As > Save Copy As.

Step 19


Select .stl file in the drop down menu.
Press the Options button.
For units, select mm.
Press OK and save the file.

Step 20


Open the .stl file in meshlab
Use the measuring tool to see if the measurement is correct.
(It will be an approximate measurement, because our mouse clicking is not exact).

If it is not correct, there might have been an error with the units along the way. Double check that you did each of the import and export steps properly.

Done! Now your enclosure is ready for 3D printing.


Hopefully you found this tutorial useful and you are now able to create 3D printed enclosures for your pcbs.

As long as you can export your pcb to a .dxf (here, we went from .eps to .dxf), then you can import it into Autodesk Inventor.

This also works for other designs as well! Try it out on some interesting things. :)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask on the forum.

"I learned how to make a pcb enclosure, by importing gEDA to Inventor! Neat! #RoboBrrd"
RoboBrrd Learn I learned how to make a pcb enclosure, by importing gEDA to Inventor! Neat! #RoboBrrd