A Quick Guide to File Preparation

Most people will use illustrator when creating vector files and use the Pen or Pencil tool to draft out the outlines and shapes of their design.

Once finshed select the artwork and expand appearance. This will ensure the stroke weights appear as shown on screen.

Object > Expand Appearance

Alternatively it is possible to use Live Trace to create vectors from a black and white image.

Place the file onto the art-board and select:

Object > Live Trace > Create and Expand

You may find that the object will need some tweaking to get it exactly how you would like it.

Our Checklist to Prep Your Files

Step 1

For an accurate idea of how the laser cutting software will view you file select View > Outline from the top menu.

Step 2

Release all clipping masks

Step 3

Ungroup all items by selecting all Object > Ungroup – you may need to repeat this if there are several small groups within a large group.

Step 4

Make sure that all your vector paths are continuous. If shapes are constructed from more than one path, make sure that you join them to create a closed shape. It is essential to do this if you want to engrave solid shapes.

Step 5

Reducing anchor points will help simplifying the drawing to reduce cutting time and also help the laser to process the file much quicker.

Step 6

Ensure all text and fonts used are an outline or converted to paths.

To do this Select Type > Font > Create outlines from the top menu. Don’t forget to Ungroup them after this.

Step 7

When cutting out fonts and text it is important to remember that the middle islands of some letters will fall out. If you would like to prevent this it is advisable to either edit your desired font to bridge these gaps or to use an alternative stencil formatted font.

Step 8

Check that there are no duplicate vector strokes stacked up on one another. If you don’t get rid of them the laser will cut these lines twice – increasing the time and cost and probably adversely effecting the finish of your project.

Step 9

Look for any hidden items around the edges of you art-board. A simple check for this is to zoom out , select all then look for any rogue objects or lines.

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