What is laser cutting?

Laser cutting is great for intricate designs like jewelry, coasters, homeware and many other things. 2-dimensional or layered designs tend to be the most successful and value for money for reselling.

What materials are available?

There are many options available include acrylic, wood, leather and metal.

How do you design for lasers?

There are 3 design elements; cutting lines, area engraving, and line engraving:

• To cut a line:

Set the stroke style to a width of 0.01 mm
Set the stroke color to blue with RGB values of 0, 0, 255;

• To engrave a line:

Set the stroke style to a width of 0.01 mm
And set the stroke color to red with RGB values of 255, 0, 0:

• To engrave an area:

Set the fill color to black with RGB values of 0, 0, 0:

What is the smallest overall part size that can be made?

Designs should be bigger than 6mm/0.2". Because very small parts (6mm/0.2" round/square and smaller) can fall through the laser bed during cutting and be lost. This is something that cannot be avoided, so your best option is to add extra copies of your small parts to your design to account for those which may be lost. You can also tag your pieces into the surrounding material.

What color mode should Illustrator be in?

Designs need to be in RGB color mode. Go to File > Document color mode and make sure your document is set to RGB - then create your design.

How do you convert fonts for laser cutting? What color mode should Illustrator be in?

Any text you use in your design file needs to be converted to paths. This way the laser cutter will follow your design correctly, regardless of whether or not it has the font installed. This is as simple as selecting your text and then choosing Type > Create Outlines from the top menu. You won't be able to edit the text once you've done this, so do it last after your spell check. You can engrave text into the materials using area engraving, line engraving, or a combination of both.

How do you convert images for laser cutting?

Our making system only registers vector artwork. It will ignore images inserted into your design in other formats (such as .jpg or .bmp). You can trace the image by selecting the inserted image and using the Object > Live Trace > Tracing Options command. Then choose 'Black and White' with the 'Ignore white' option checked. Adjust the 'Threshold' slider to adjust how the image is traced.

Next, you'll need to use the Object > Expand command. If the trace has worked correctly, vectors should appear around all of the individual parts of the traced image. You'll be able to edit the vector paths as you wish.

How do you export your file?

Step 1: Use the File > Save as command and select the format as 'illustrator EPS':
Step 2: Make sure your final 'EPS Options' panel looks the same as shown below, then click 'OK':