FAQ’s

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General Laser Cutting FAQs

What is laser cutting?

• CO₂ laser technology directs a high-powered laser to cut and engrave flat surfaces such as wood, plastics and paper
• The technology can be controlled via a multitude of vector based computer programs
• Here at The Laser Co our preferred software is Rhino (.3dm) & Illustrator (.ai).

What is the difference between laser cutting, scoring and engraving?

Vector cut

Material is cut all the way through, you tell the laser where to cut through vector line placement

Vector score

Material is marked with a shallow score line, you tell the laser where to score through vector line placement

ENGRAVING

Material is ‘coloured in’, you tell the laser where to engrave through weighted line placement, fills and hatches. Engraving is a lot more time consuming than scoring and cutting.

Does the material get burnt?

Depending on the speed and power of the laser, the material can get slightly burnt around the edges of the cut and design. We optimise our power settings to keep these burn marks to a minimum, however from time to time they cannot be avoided. We can apply a tape to the material beforehand for a fee of $10 per sheet per side. Alternatively some materials can be sanded after cutting & engraving to remove burn marks. Transfer tape is not recommended for Basswood; this timber grain is very porous and the tape does not adhere well which often results in thicker cut lines and increased laser burn.

Can you apply tape to reduce burning?

Application tape does not guarantee total prevention of burn marks / residue. Jobs will be delivered with application tape in tact, The Laser Co does not take responsibility for removal of tape. Delicate materials and thin cuts may infrequently be subject to breakage when removing tape, customer discretion assumed.

$10 per side for full sheets
$5 per side for half sheets

Which materials can I laser cut?

✓ interior plywood
✓ solid timber
✓ screenboard
✓ boxboard
✓ paper & cardboards
✓ corrugated cardboard
✓ acrylic / perspex
✓ polypropylene
✓ genuine leather

✓ (PVC/vinyl free) imitation leather
✓ natural / silicone rubber
✓ laser safe plastic laminates
✓ textiles
✓ bamboo products
✓ cork
✓ felt
✓ polarizing film

✓ glass (engrave only)
✓ aluminium (engrave only)
✓ marble (engrave only)
✓ granite (engrave only)
✓ slate (engrave only)

Which materials can't I laser cut?

✗ polycarbonates thicker than 1mm
✗ foam
✗ foamcore
✗ styrene
✗ PVC
✗ vinyl

✗ polystyrene foam
✗ polypropylene foam
✗ ABS
✗ fiberglass
✗ HDPE/milk bottle plastic
✗ metals
✗ glass

Do you have a returns policy?

No returns are accepted as all items are custom made.

Template and File Setup FAQs

What are the size restrictions for my laser cutting file?

• The full bed size of our laser cutter is 1200 x 900mm in size
• Most of our available sheet material is smaller than the maximum capacity of the laser cutting bed
• Therefore when laying out your design, you need to operate within both the boundary of our machine bed (1200 x 900mm) and the boundary of the material which you have elected to use.
• To summarise: when setting up your files, review our material sizes and lay your design out within the material boundary

What kerf / tolerance do I need to allow for when laser cutting?

• When cutting, the laser beam ‘consumes’ a small amount of material, leaving a small gap. This gap is called a kerf. When cutting items with a tight tolerance (e.g. tabs, finger joints) the kerf will affect your part’s fit, leaving it looser than expected
• Kerf cannot be exactly defined as it is affect by material type, thickness, cutting speed, laser power settings and laser frequency. As a rough guide laser kerf ranges from between 0.08mm – 0.45mm.
• If you are cutting an item with tight tolerance time and material allowances for kerf testing are required
• Below are guideline kerf thicknesses, these measurement are in no way exact and are to be used as a starting point when accounting for kerf in your digital design.

Acrylic 2-3mm 0.18mm
Acrylic 5-8mm 0.21mm
Plywood 3mm 0.3mm
Plywood 6mm 0.25mm
Veneered MDF 4mm 0.16mm
Boxboard 1.1mm 0.08mm
Boxboard 2.3mm 0.12mm

What is DPI scaling?

We have found that from time to time that client artwork is scaled when moving from one software to another, particularly with .svg files.
• This is caused by different software settings for dimension scaling , for example Inkscape uses 90DPI and Illustrator uses 72DPI therefore we have found that when a file created in Inskcape is opened in Illustrator the vectors are scaled up.
• By providing your artwork in our templates we can tell if the file has been scales as we have points of reference in the template such as cutting area or material boundaries that are used as a check point for unwanted scaling
• If you are creating your files in Inkscape please provide a reference dimension so that we can check that your artwork is scaled correctly.

Pricing & delivery FAQs

How long will it take?

Jobs commence on receipt pf payment confirmation, which is either:

– Credit card payment complete

– Money received in bank account via EFT

– PDF / Screen shot confirming EFT received

Turn around times

• Standard laser cutting or laser engraving job turn around is 3 full business days from payment confirmation
• An express 1 full business day service is available for standard jobs that are required more quickly, a 30% surcharge will be added to your quote
• Business days are Monday to Friday excluding public holidays
• Payments received before 12noon will be classed as ‘today payments’
• Payments received after 12noon will be classed as ‘tomorrow payments’

Ready to collect / courier

Payment Confirmation Received:

Monday 8am

Monday 1pm

Friday 8am

Friday 1pm

Standard Service

Thursday morning

Friday morning

Wednesday morning

Thursday morning

Express Service

Monday morning

Wednesday morning

Tuesday morning

Tuesday morning

Delivery

• Delivery time adds up to 2 business days for Metro Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane and up to 4 business days for other domestic destinations.

• From time to time delays can occur with our couriers for example in bad weather.

Delays

• Any digitising, design work, artwork changes, sourcing of offsite materials or particularly large jobs will add to the turn around time. Turn around times will be confirmed during the quoting process
• Delays may be experienced at times, we will inform you of delays in a timely manner

How do I pay?

On provision of an invoice you may choose to pay with the following methods:

• EFT (Bank Transfer)
• Credit Card

We must receive payment / payment confirmation in order to begin work

Do you deliver?

• We deliver domestic jobs either via courier or Australia Post which generally take 1-2 business days but may take up to 4 business days for non metro destinations
• Same day delivery can be arranged, please enquire

• Jobs are either taped within their original sheet and sent flat-packed, or stacked and sent in a bundle or parcel (if you have a preference please let us know) 
• Please advise if you would like your package marked with ‘Permission To Leave If Unattended’, alternatively the delivery personnel may leave a card with instructions for redelivery or alternative collection points

• By prior arrangement job may be collected from our studio, please advise if you would like to collect your job

How much is delivery?

• Delivery costs depend on location and weight. Contact us for a firm delivery quote
• Most deliveries to Sydney suburbs cost $15 or less

• Most deliveries to non remote cities cost $20 or less
• Most deliveries to remote areas cost $25 or less
• Same day delivery can be arranged, please enquire

• Delivery to rural areas may take a day or two longer
• We deliver internationally too! From time to time the destination country entry point will charge a customs fee, this fee is the responsibility of the customer.

How is pricing calculated?

• All prices are inclusive of GST

Cutting Service
• We charge a $11 set-up fee per unique cutting sheet
• If you cut multiples of the same sheet, you only pay the set-up fee once
• A 50% discount is applied to the 6th and all additional set-up fees
• Laser time is charged at $1.65 per minute
• Cutting time varies depending on the Material Type | Material Thickness | Part Size and Profile | Quantity
• Exact laser time is calculated from the digital file
• Protective tape costs $5 per side for half sheets and $10 per side for full sheets
• Minimum order $75
• 10% student discount applies to set-up fees, materials, cutting time and transfer tape (proof required, please email from your student email address)

Materials
• Prices vary for each material type and thickness as indicated on the materials page

Do you offer a student discount?

• A 10% student discount applies to set-up fees, materials, cutting time and transfer tape (proof required, please email from your student email address)

Do you provide samples?

We offer material sample packs (see here) available for purchase – e-mail us to request a pack.
If you are ordering a large fabrication job, we offer a product prototyping / sampling phase before proceeding with a larger order.

Can you help me with my design?

We provide both design and file preparation services. Drop us a line to see how we can assist.

Can I use my own material?

• By prior arrangement you may be able to provide your own materials
• You will need to provide excess material for us to test and perfect our power settings on
• Material must be supplied flat, as bent or warped materials are not usable
• An additional charge of $30 per unique material will be charged
• An additional charge of $30 per sheet will be charged for oversized materials (materials larger than 1200x900mm)
• Clients use their own material as their risk, whilst we are very careful with every job, The Laser Co are not liable for unsuccessful cutting or engraving. Please read our full Terms and Conditions

Clients //

ABOUT US //

A Design and Fabrication Studio in Sydney’s Inner West, we specialise in laser cutting, signage, graphic design and materiality. Our creative team help clients across the globe bring their ideas to life, proudly sourcing sustainable and local materials where possible.

CONTACT US //

hello@thelaserco.com

0414 925 588

21 Shepherd Street, Marrickville, Sydney.
By appointment only.

WORK WITH US //

Laser cutting quote

Signage quote

Email us

The Laser Co is a finalist in Anthill's 2016 Cool Company Awards