At Swordfish Works, our laser cutting London based workshop, we can help you prepare your files for laser cutting. However, to ensure you are getting the results you want for the right price it is worthwhile taking the time to prepare your files before you send them to a laser cutting service.
Here are a few tips:
Make sure your files are in the correct format. Laser cutting machines recognise vector files such as AI. DWG. DXF. Or vector PDF. Some common programs you can use to create vector files are Adobe Illustrator, Corel draw, Rhino and AutoCAD. You can also use photoshop to create PDF files.
Ensure your file is the correct scale. The laser cutter will replicate exactly whatever is laid out in your file. So make sure you have everything just how you want it! A common mistake is sending files out of scale. Check your scale; to be extra safe include a scale reference within your file or email so we can check it has opened at the correct size on our software.
Check for double lines or hidden lines and fills. Vector lines and fills that are white can still be recognised and cut by the laser cutter. Make sure your fills are set to ‘no fill’ and check you don’t have any hidden double lines layered over each other in your file. Double lines that go unnoticed can lead to longer cutting times and burnt edges, as the laser cutting machine will cut your material over that line as many times as the line is repeated.
When preparing for laser cutting it is helpful to consider how your laser cut pieces will be laid out to fit onto a sheet. At Swordfish Works, we will lay out your pieces for maximum efficiency on our lasers. However, if you prefer to do this yourself, a good rule of thumb is to allow as much space between objects as the thickness of your material. i.e. 3mm acrylic should have 3mm gaps allowed between objects. It is also advisable to leave some space around the edge of your material, between 10-20mm.
At Swordfish Works we are happy to help with any part of your process and can prepare files for laser cutting as part of the service we provide. However, we hope this short break down helps you to understand the file requirements for laser cutting and can help you get a quote quickly and guarantee you are getting the cuts you want!
Swordfish Works is a London laser cutting service that specialises in helping creatives achieve results. If you have any more questions about how to prepare your files for laser cutting or receiving a quote, get in touch today.