Types of Files
We accept many vector-based files such as:
- DWG from AutoCAD
- Raster-based files (jpg, bmp, png, tiff) are acceptable but file conversion charge may apply
Raster vs. Vector
Some applications and graphic utility programs such as Adobe Photoshop allow a pixel-based image to be saved as an EPS file.
This is called "EPS for Placement" or "Placed EPS" representation of the file.
It is also known as a "faux EPS" for placement and sizing only.
This "faux eps" is a value in Photoshop for saving a clipping path within an otherwise continuous-tone image file. Some other common raster file formats are BMP, GIF, JPEG and TIFF. Raster image files can be laser engraved onto a variety of materials such as acrylic, wood, glass etc. The quality of finished products depends on the resolution of the image. Higher resolution (300 dpi)means better laser-engraved image.
Vector files are more versatile and flexible. Vector graphic formats create, execute and store their images as mathematical calculations of descriptions and coordinates.
The most well-known of the vector formats is EPS or EPSF (for Encapsulated PostScript format).
An image created as an EPS vector can be scaled to any size without loss of resolution. A vector file is sometimes called a geometric file. Most images created with tools such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw are in the form of vector image files. Vector image files are easier to modify than raster image files. Vector files are required for all laser cutting, etching or engraving.
For your convenience, we can convert any image files into beautiful vector artwork at a nominal charge.
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) is a standard file format for importing and exporting PostScript files. An EPS file can contain any combination of text, graphics and images. Since it is actually a PostScript file, it is the most versatile file format that is available. Currently, there is no application that is capable of taking a drawing that was not created from inception as a vector file and save it as an editable EPS.
AutoCAD DXF (Drawing Interchange Format, or Drawing Exchange Format) is a CAD data file format, developed by Autodesk as their solution for enabling data interoperability between AutoCAD and other programs. DXF is a two-dimensional graphics file format supported by virtually all PC -based CAD products.
DXF files can be either ASCII (DXF) or binary format (DXB).
If you export our Solidworks file into DXF file, please use 2D polyline as option. Do not use SPLINE or all curves will be cut as faceted lines.
Depending on your Solidworks version, compatibility and scaling may be an issue.
It is best if you can draw a 1" x 1" square in the drawing for scale reference and verification.
- Polylines - using polylines will save you money because they cut more efficiently. You can create polylines (plines) by joining lines and arcs.
Please also make sure that closed shapes become polylines.
- 2D Drawings - since our laser systems cut in 2 axes, all drawings must in X,Y plane. 3D effect is achieved by laminating parts together.
- Clean Drawings - please make sure that all lines are continuous and non-overlapping because every line drawn will be cut.
Use ZOOM EXTENTS, check for off-screen objects and remove them. Remove any blocks with EXPLODE command.
SPLINES should never be used since they do not produce smooth curves and arcs when cut.
- Layers - use layer controls to differentiate types of cut such as etching and cutting and types of materials and thickness.
- Layer Names - use descriptive layer names such as cut250acrylic (meaning cut layer using 1/4 inch thick acrylic) or etch060 (meaning etch layer using 1/16 thick acrylic).
- Lettering - most CAD programs do not create letters as line information.
Laser Alliance LLC uses a special software that generate high resolution output for more than 70 outlined fonts. We can also import fonts from other graphics programs into AutoCAD files.
- 1:1 Drawings - change the scale of your drawings to finished part size. This will ensure that your project will proceed quickly and accurately.
- Offset for laser beam width - the width of our laser varied from .008" to .010" depending on materials. For high tolerance work, compensate using OFFSET command.
To compensate for the laser beam width, offset your cut line half the beam width away from the part you want to keep.
For inside cut-outs, offset toward the inside and for outside cutouts, offset toward the outside.
For most materials, use offset of .004" is sufficient. For 1/2 thick or thicker materials, use an offset of .005". Be sure to remove the original objects.
- Group Parts - parts that required same material and thickness should be grouped together.
- Purge all unused layers and blocks.
- Scale drawing to desired size.
- Space between cut lines should be 1:1 to material thickness.
- Label each sheet with the material and thickness desired.
- Make sure there are no duplicates or overlapping lines (this will cause the laser to cut in the same place multiple times and will yield an undesirable result and may increase cutting time)
- Do not use SPLINE command. This will make the curves become faceted.
Adobe Illustrator File Guidelines:
- Remove all hidden layers if not needed
- Convert all fonts to outlines
- Special instructions and specifications can be type and saved with the design file
- Use different file name if revisions have occurred to the original file
- Scale artwork if art board is not large enough for the design and let us know the scale factor
- Use Pathfinder tool to merge, trim or unite objects for cutting
Questions? Comments? Quick Quote?
Please send file to firstname.lastname@example.org
Form: Quote Request