File Set Up for Adobe Illustrator

Machine Capabilities

  • Maximum material size: 32" x 18"
  • Maximum image size: 31.5" x 17.5"
  • Maximum cutting thickness: 1/4"
  • Maximum material depth: 7" (engraving only)
  • Leave 1/4" margin between image and edge of material.
  • Use 1 : 1 scale. 2" x 3" image = 2" x 3" laser cut object.
  • File types: Illustrator (.ai) and AutoCAD (.esp) 

What is a Vector?

  • There are two types of graphic files: vectors and bitmaps/raters (.jpeg, .tiff, .gif, and .pds)
  • Vectors can be infinitely scaled without loosing resolution.
  • Bitmaps loose resolution when scaled up. Laser cutters cannot read bitmap files.

Step 1: Create New Document

  • File > New > Document
  • Size: .5" larger than material or image, not to exceed 18" x 32"
  • Color Mode: RGB. (laser cutter cannot read CMYK documents)

IMPORTANT: Is your Document Color Mode RGB?

 

     

    Step 2: Create Image

    • Laser-cut and engraved images are made of vectors (lines/strokes) and rasters (fills).
    • Set stroke weight to .1 pt
    • Contact me for further instructions if you are embedding image files (.jpeg or .tiff) into Illustrator.
     

    Step 3: Color-Code Image

    IMPORTANT: Is your Document Color Mode RGB?

    • Color-coding allows the laser cutter to distinguish between different types of cuts.
    • Universal laser cutters use eight RGB colors: 00000 (black), ff0000 (red), 00ff00 (green), ffff00 (yellow), 0000ff (blue), ff00ff (magenta), 00ffff (cyan), ff6600 (orange).
    • Contact me for color-coding instructions that are specific to your project.

    Text

    • To preserve your font convert "editable text" to "outlines".
    • Duplicate Artboard. Label one "Editable Text" and the other "Outlines". 
    • Select the text on Artboard: Outlines then click Type > Create > Outlines.
    • Create "bridges" for cut out text or images.

    Step 4: Before you send

    • Double check color-coding
    • Double check stroke weight, .1 pt
    • Ungroup all items: Select All > Object > Ungroup. Repeat if there are groups within groups.
    • Release clipping masks: Select All > Object > Clipping Mask > Release
    • Save "Name_DescriptiveTitle_Material". Example: SarahPike_FrontCover_Wood.ai

    Not quite sure what your file should look like? Look at the examples bellow.

    Feeling overwhelmed? I can make your laser-ready files.

     

    Multiple Laser-Cut Objects

    Laser-Cut and Engraved Object

    Single Laser-Cut Object With Margins

    Single Laser-Cut Object Without Margins

    Laser-Engraved Woodblock

    Cost Saving Tips

    • Thin materials cut faster than thick.
    • Straight lines cut faster than curved.
    • Vector lines cut/engrave faster than raster engraving.

    Remove double lines to prevent laser from cutting twice. This saves time and potential damage to the material.

     

     

     

     

    Reduce Anchor Points

    • Object > Path > Simplify
    • Adjust Curve Precision slider to remove anchor points without distorting the image.

     

    Connect Vector Paths (for cutout shapes)

    • Select the end points
    • Object > Path > Join