preparing your file
If you've got basic experience with Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Autocad, or other vector drawing programmes, read on to find out how to get your files ready for cutting. If you don't know where to start, email us! We can offer a design service to help bring your idea to life.
setting up your file
When setting up your file, it's often easiest to make your artboard the same size as the material you're using - we can cut up to 680x400mm, but if you're using materials supplied by us please check the 'materials' page to see what sizes we can provide. That way you can fit your designs onto a sheet of material in the most economical way!
Ensure that you are working in RGB mode (File-->Document Colour Mode-->RGB)
Check that all your measurements are in mm so that we cut everything to the right scale
Any lines which are to be cut through the material should be drawn in RGB red (R:255, G:0, B:0) with a thickness of 0.25pt in Illustrator, or hairline in Corel Draw
Vector engraving is produced in the same way as a cut line, but just marks the surface rather than going all the way through the material.
Vector engrave lines should be drawn in RGB blue (R:0, G:0, B:255) with a thickness of 0.25pt in Illustrator, or hairline in Corel Draw
Raster engraving allows the laser to engrave filled areas or thicker lines. To achieve this, the laser moves from side to side in the same way as a desktop printer, engraving a line with each pass
Raster engraved areas should be outlined with an RGB black line (R:0, G:0, B:0) with a thickness of 0.25pt in Illustrator, or hairline in Corel Draw
In order to cut or engrave text, it needs to be converted to outlines. To do this in Illustrator, select the text then go to Text-->Create Outlines
Once converted to outlines, select no fill colour, and select the relevant RGB outline colour for cut, vector engrave, or raster engrave.
Don't forget that cutting out text may cause the middle of letters to fall out!
layout and saving
Ensure that you place the number of pieces required on the sheet - if you need 5 circles cut, place 5 circles on the sheet.
Tile your pieces to get the most out of your material - sometimes this works best if you rotate shapes by 180 degrees to enable them to tessellate.
Make sure you leave at least 1mm between each item to be cut.
Make sure you don't have any duplicated lines - these can cause the line to be cut twice which can burn the material, or it can cause the line to disappear altogether.
Ungroup all items on the sheet.
Remove any clipping masks
Please save your finished file as .ai or .dxf.
Are all your lines 0.01mm / 0.25pt thick?
Are all your cut lines RGB red? (R:255 G:0 B:0)
Are all your vector engraved lines RGB blue? (R:0 G:0 B:255)
Are all your raster engraved lines RGB black? (R:0 G:0 B:0)?
Is there a minimum of 1mm between all items?
Have you deleted any duplicate cut lines?
Has any text been converted to outlines?
Have all items been ungrouped?
Have all clipping masks been removed?