File preparation laser cutting

Learn how to prepare laser cutting files for superior quality manufacturing with uMake.ca

Dimension

Table Size: 36″ x 52″ (900 mm x 1300 mm). We are able to cut and engrave material with a size of 4′ x 10′ as our machine is designed for oversized materials. Our Laser machine can also perform rotational engraving for materials up to 150 mm diameter, or 6″ diameter.

Material

For?out list of materials that can be laser cut and engraved, please follow the link. Umake can laser cut Acrylic up to 1/2″ thick and wood up to 1/4″ thick. For material that is up to 250 mm or 10 inches thick, they can fit in our laser machine for engraving.

File

We are able to translate most file types but for a speedy estimate, it is best to provide BMP (1 color depth) for engraving and DXF for laser cutting. Other files accepted for laser cutting include dwg, .ai and .svg.

?Laser Cutting

Step 1Laser cutting is the manufacturing process of melting, burning or vaporizing a material with computer line artwork. Laser cutting is applied to many industries from industrial manufacturing to furniture and ornaments. Once a material has been cut with a laser, a nice clean cutting edge remains with no post production finishing required. Laser cutting can deliver extremely high detail up to 0.01 mm tolerance, opening a world of flexibility for designers and engineers. Umake utilized a number of laser cutting technologies including, flat sheet laser cutting, continuous material laser cutting and rotary laser cutting. The umake laser technology can be applied to most materials and industries.

Read our?drawing setup?document to learn how best?to setup your file for laser cutting. If you want to cut multiple parts, position them so material wastage is kept to a minimum. The machine reads vector strokes of hairline thickness in red ? 0.01mm. We will then check your files to ensure they are ready for laser cutting.

  • Step 2

Review our?material?inventory or advise what material you would like to be laser cut. We then lay your chosen material in our machine bed and configure the machine to cut your file. We adjust the Power, Speed and Frequency of the laser to suit your specific material.

  • Step 3

The laser will then follow the paths of your drawing file to cut out the shape(s) of your file. Typically, we will apply a protective backing that can be peeled away after the cutting is complete. This protects the surface of your material from heat and burn marks.

Vector Engraving

Vector engraving is a method of marking a material surface. Like laser cutting, the laser beam will follow the path of vector strokes without cutting all the way through. The width of the stroke can only be made at the?kerf?of the laser i.e 0.01mm. To engrave thicker strokes, we would need to use the?Raster engraving?method.

  • Step 1

You send us your laser ready?file;?the machine reads vector strokes of hairline thickness in black ? 0.01mm.

  • Step 2

Vector engraving can be run alongside laser cutting?so your drawings have to be set up correctly so we can easily distinguish what is what.?We then configure the machine to read your drawing correctly and engrave at the required power.

  • Step 3

The laser follows the engrave line and marksthe surface of your material. Sections that you would like laser cut are usually run first.?Protective backing is usually used to prevent burn marks. The laser engraves through the backing and the material.

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Raster Engraving

Raster engraving is another method of marking where the laser head moves from left to right moving slowly down the material. Think of it like a printer where instead of printing, the laser is taking some of the material away to mark the surface. The laser affects difficult classes of materials in different ways.?There are so many variations here; its mind blowing and every material react a bit differently.?We can engrave small intricate details or large surface areas at varying depths or with a gentle marking of the surface.?It can take many many hours, but the results are usually worth the time.

  • Step 1

You send us your laser ready file.?Raster engraving involves using filled vector objects and strokes thicker than a hairline (0.01mm) or?an image files e.g. Jpeg or Tiff. (The Sample file shows areas that will also be cut;?these are drawn in Red hairline strokes.)

  • Step 2

We can use raster engraving in combination with vector engraving and laser cutting.?We will configure the laser to engrave your material at the depth you need using a specific power and speed.

  • Step 3

The laser will then do its thing and work its way down to your material marking the object as it goes.?Raster engraving can be a fairly time consuming process when running large areas up to A1 size.

3D Engraving

3D engraving is another method of Raster engraving. When using our 3D setting, the laser will also adjust more the power it applies to the material based on the tonal value of the drawing. Black areas receive maximum laser power, white areas do not get engraved, and the shades between the two get a varying amount of laser power giving it a true 3D appearance adding sloped edges to the engraving at varying depths.

  • Step 1

You send us your laser ready file. 3D engraving involves using filled vector object, or image files in grayscale.

  • Step 2

3D artwork takes a lot of time to set up to engrave properly. We will advise on the best way to produce your artwork. Typically you need to have many different gradients of black/grey within your drawing. 3D engraving doesn?t work on all materials, organic materials such as wood usually engrave well with this process.

  • Step 3

The laser moves down the image revealing a subtle 3D effect. We usually run 2 passes (i.e. running the job twice) to increase the 3D effect. The surface might need a bit of cleaning afterwards to remove debris. This is especially the case with wood as a lot of oil residue is released from the intense heat.

Photo Engraving

Photo engraving involves Raster engraving but with a lot more detail. The laser reads the tonal qualities of an image much like a printer. Black areas receive maximum laser power while white areas do not get engraved; the shades between the two get a varying amount of laser power. We can achieve some stunning results where we can engrave photographic quality up to 1200 DPI (dots per inch) on many different materials.

  • Step 1

You send us your laser ready image.?Your image here is the key.?We need a high resolution image of at least 300 DPI for good engraving results.?There is a lot more drawing setup involved in photo engraving and it?s?best to read our guide on obtaining the right image.