Laser Machining Centre

PREPARATION

Preparing From Artwork To Cutting On The Laser

How do I Get My Art Work On To The Laser For Cutting?

Drawing:
Usually I start with a clean black (fine tipped pen) on white, line drawing about 8 x 11 inch, or a digital photograph. Be sure to include a yard (meter) stick in the photo, for scale. Often I draw it, scan and print it out and then redraw it several times until I am sure it is a clean drawing (one without extraneous lines). Cut out pieces can also be scanned. It should be original, not copies used without the artists or engineers consent.

Computer:
Usually I start with a clean black (fine tipped pen) on white, line drawing about 8 x 11 inch, or a digital photograph. Be sure to include a yard (meter) stick in the photo, for scale. Often I draw it, scan and print it out and then redraw it several times until I am sure it is a clean drawing (one without extraneous lines). Cut out pieces can also be scanned. It should be original, not copies used without the artists or engineers consent.

If you have AutoCAD, Corel draw, or Adobe Illustrator you can do this work and save it as a DWG or DXF file. This is the least expensive way for you to have an image burnt onto something. If you don't have this available you will have to have someone translate your Photo into a number driven line file (DWG.) I offer this as a service here, and can usually do work quite quickly. I charge $45.00/ hour for drafting time. There will also be an initial small fee for translating the file into its final state for the laser usually $10 to $30 depending on the complexity of your project.

I will finish the drawing, save it, and send you a copy; for you to "sign off"*. Then schedule your job for cutting. Usually this is the same day. Normally, you provide the materials, or I can - for a 15% up-charge fee. If you have a material I am not familiar with I may need some time to do some research on it to learn the optimal cutting speed (this I do at no cost to you except for materials), so I may need some sample material. (*agreeing that it is what you want and that you will pay for it from then on including changes.)

Which Materials Can Be Cut On The Laser?
I can cut most types of Wood up to ¾ inch thick. The most common model material we cut is Aircraft plywood. We cut most Plastics including Acrylic, Delrin, ABS, Polyester, Polycarbonate, Mylar and thinner Phenolic and Polyamides, and Circuit Board material. We aim to have a water (like an ice cube in the sun) finish on the edge. It further cuts miscellaneous materials include Refactory wool, cotton, man made fibers, Cardboard, Paper, Duroid, Rowmark Plastics, Silicones, and even Rubbers.

It does not cut aluminium, copper, brass, and glass, though there are techniques for engraving and embossing them. Plastics that are laden with PVC I do little work with, as the gas it gives off eats the machine. We also cut Metals including Steel, Tool Steel, Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel has been cut up to one sixteenth of an inch, though I find them to be a lot of trouble, and I would steer you to people who specialize in those materials.

Some people have an unrealistic belief that a Laser can cut anything. Some Lasers are stronger than ours, some are weaker. We cannot cut ¼ inch steel plate. We can cut very thin Stainless steel though, and even ½ inch Acrylic, and ¾ inch plywood.