Getting Started Guide for Laser Cutting or Laser engraving

Laser cutting is a process of using a very high-powered laser to cut or engrave materials, by moving it over a flat bed things that you can easily laser cut are wood, cardboard ,acrylic paper and you can engrave into glass and metal there’s  a huge range of things. You can do and create with a laser cutter something to be conscious of is the types of fumes that the material gives off because it does cut it by burning it.

Now here’s an example of some acrylic pieces that we’ve laser-cut with the core electronics logo and a piece that we’ve engraved and we’ll go a little bit into. How to prepare a file for laser cutting laser, cutting is becoming more and more accessible for makers today it’s still something that’s a little out of the price range to have it in your own home, but it’s completely accessible for groups like maker spaces or tool share programs. So, more and more people are having access to laser cutters and being able to create with this tool and we recently offered a started offering a service on core electronics for laser cutting.
So, you can submit to us your SVG files will laser cut them or engrave them and send them anywhere in Australia so let’s take a look at the type offiles that we use to create a laser cutter tool path. We need to understand Laser engraving.

Understanding Laser Engraving

Vector file

The first thing you need to use is a vector file and how do you tell that a vector file is a vector file, well it’s it’s all in how it looks really from the surface, but an SVG file a DXF and sometimes a PDF these are all vector files and the easiest way to tell is by zooming in on a surface. I have open here which is a free photo editing software and if I was to draw a black circle and the edges, look really smooth but as we zoom in on it they get pixelated, we can tell that this is not a vector file we have it’s a graphic image like a like a JPEG and as we get closer the edges get pixelated now if we go into a vector editing software like, Inkscape then we create a circle similarly in Inkscape and this one’s a vector circle we can tell right away that were you able tore shape this circle after it’s been placed on our drawing board and as we zoom in on the edge is days completely smooth. So a vector file is different from a typical JPEG orgraphic image because all the lines are calculated mathematically.

When you create something it assigns points and vectors and incur vs from those vectors and that allows it to be completely scalable so a vector image as you look at it can be scaled up infinitely and still keep it’s perfectly smooth edges and keep its shape same shape without losing any detail so when we’re creating a vector file for laser cutting there’s a few little rules we want to keep in mind, so I have a core electronics logo here just like the ones that we’ve laser-cut already and there’s a few different types of cuts. A laser cutter can do and the first type is a cut so when we create a file for a cut with a laser cutter it’s different for some software’s but for ours we use Trotec job control and the the default colour is red. We assign the different types of cuts that we want our laser cutter to do with colors of our strokes, here I have everything in red so everything on this logo will be cut out so at which we end up with this logo right here is this the same results.

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