Laser Cutting File Setup | .3dm and .dxf formats | Golden Rules

We are often asked about the best way to set up your .dxf or .3dm file for laser cutting. We include a checklist with the template download which covers a few technical things you need to take note of, and here are some other golden rules to follow. If you are new to laser cutting, take the time to read through these guidelines and it will all soon be second nature!

You can also download a template: .dxf or .3dm.

Prefer to read the guidelines for illustrator?

Engraving and scoring

Engraving essentially ‘colours in’ the area within a bounded shape, therefore you must have a closed shape in order to engrave. For example a circle on the black engrave layer will engrave / colour-in the area within the circle. If you have ‘open’ linework on an engrave layer, this will be ignored by our laser cutting software.

Please also note that if you have one bounded shape within another the innermost bounded shape will be left un-engraved. e.g. inside of ‘R’.

Scoring marks the material along a line. If you wish to have single lines scored on your material, use score lines. The open / unbounded lines on your file should be set to either light or dark scores, or made into closed paths and amended for engraving.

Linework

Continuous lines: make sure your lines and curves are made up of single, continuous lines. Joined lines are much faster to cut, than lots of individual lines, therefore where possible join lines and curves together using ‘join’.

Spacing: cut lines in your design should not be closer than 1.5mm and score lines should not be closer than 1mm.

Avoid duplicate lines: multiple lines stacked on one another will cut multiple times, ruining the material, damaging the laser bed and increasing the job time considerably. Run either ‘make2D’ or ‘seldup’ to remove duplicates

Artboard vs Material size

Each artboard is set to our actual laser bed size at 1200 x 900mm. The first step is to decide which material you will use, draw the material boundary and then place your designs within the material boundary. Material that we stock and and the sizes it comes in can be found here.

Ungroup objects

Make sure there are no grouped objects as this can cause problems with translating your file.