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 below.

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