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January 31

ULTIMATE GUIDE IN LASER CUTTING: IMPORTANT TIPS BEFORE LASER CUTTING

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WHAT IS LASER CUTTING?

Laser Cutting is a technology that is used to laser to cut materials. It is used for industrial manufacturing, used by schools, small businesses, and hobbyists. Laser cutting works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics.

Here is your Guide before going to Laser Cut your Project:

  • Materials. 

The bed size is 600 x 900 mm. You are able to cut up to 599 x 899mm in size. However, we do recommend about 10mm around the border in case there is movement in your materials. We can cut up to 3mm plywood, 3mm acrylic. We cut only 1mm boxboard as it’s rather dense and doesn’t leave a very nice output when thicker materials are cut. Please note we don’t use large plastic bags for laser cutting for environmental reasons and we ask clients to keep this in mind when collecting their job.

  • Artwork

– Please provide your artwork in Adobe illustrator. File naming- It’s important to name your files correctly to make it a smooth laser cutting experience. Please name your file with a number (to identify), material type and whether it is to be etched or cut.

So for example:

1 – Ply 3mm- Etch

2 – Ply 3mm- Cut

3 – Boxboard 1mm- Cut and etch

– Please set stroke line to 0.001mm in thickness. Please note our laser cutter doesn’t vary depending on the stroke line, it’s cutting thickness is dependent on the amount of power that we use and the type of material it’s cutting.

– Please provide two files if you require cutting and line etching. Please save cutting in one file and line etching in the other. Please label files correctly and save cutting lines as black and etching lines as red. We will then lay both files on top of each other in our program.

– If you need full engraving (raster), please provide both the illustrator file of where the engraving is placed and a jpeg file with just the engraving in black.  We then use the jpeg to etch and lay it on top and we delete the layer in illustrator once we have aligned this for you.

– Your jpeg should be saved to correct size and at 200-300 dpi for best quality output.

– Should you require help putting together your designs into artwork, we have a graphic designer who is available for $50 an hour.

– Laser cutting kurf is when a little bit of the material is burnt away. Different materials burn away at different amounts. For 3mm ply, the kurf is usually .4mm.  Please allow for .2mm for less dense materials, however we do recommend testing this before proceeding with your order.

– If you require your project to slot into each other. For example if you are making a wooden box, please remember to allow for the laser cutting kurf and please note materials vary in thickness. If it needs to be exact we do recommend that you perhaps send us a notch test (an artwork with a piece that slots into each other) and we can test this for you and you can setup your artwork correctly.

IMPORTANT as to check in your artwork

– Please make sure your artwork doesn’t have double lines. Sometimes when you export files from CAD for example into an illustrator file, it creates double lines. Then when we are cutting it goes over the artwork 2 times or sometimes even 5 times. Please check and if you reduce the stroke weight to be 0.001mm this will reduce any issues. If we do have double lines in your file, we will have to stop your job and ask you to remove the duplicates.

– Check spacing between cuts. Please allow a minimum gap of 1.5mm between lines, so that your work doesn’t fall apart.

– Please allow 10mm around the border of the material so all your artwork is cut correctly. If you place it too tight around the edge, there is a chance that it might not cut correctly.

– If you are laser cutting really small pieces (smaller then 1 x 1cm) then please be aware that they may fall through our honeycomb bed and can’t be retrieved.

– Please don’t have hidden layers in your illustrator file. Our laser cutter picks up on all lines in the worksheet and therefore it will pick up on these lines as well. Please open a new art board with just the layer that you would like cut.

– Please setup your artwork to the size of your material. So when selecting art board please set the measurements to 600 x 900mm or the material size.

For your laser cutting needs, enquire within.


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