Laser Cutting How To …

A Laser cutting is a computer controlled machine process that uses a focused laser beam as the cutting tool and cuts by vaporizing the material being cut.
As the laser cutting process does not use a mechanical cutter and the laser can be focused to a point only 0.001″ across it can cut materials and detailed parts that would be impractical to cut using any other process. Laser cutting provides very clean cut, super fine edge surface which eliminates post cutting  refinement

How to …
The process  starts with a creating of a  digital drawing of desired shape. Usable formats include .dxf, .cdr, .ai, and many other vector file formats. If you do not have a computer drawing of your part you can mail or email a drawing or sketch along with the required sizes and we can design drawing for you.
Once you have a design you can email it to us and we will send you an estimate of the costs. Upon receiving your approval and payment in full we will cut and ship your part to you.

 

Tips for Preparing Files for Laser Cutting
If you create your design using a program such as CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, AutoCad, here are some tips for designing your parts;
  • Draw all parts full size.
  • Use thin black lines (.001″) where you want the laser to cut; the laser will cut down the center of the lines.
  • Include a 1″ square for a size reference, and include just the outline of your parts.
  • Remove all fills and duplicated lines!
  • Include only one copy of each unique part and indicate how many of each you need.
  • Leave enough space around each part so that we can easily select them to create the cutting pattern.
Note that the absolute accuracy of the part may vary slightly depending on the material and its thickness.
The largest part we can cut is 24 X 48″. If the part doesn’t fit in an 24″ X 48″ box in your drawing program it will not fit in the Laser either!
Text, thick lines, bit maps, and fills (shaded areas) will be not be cut but may be engraved if that is required. Note that if a black graphic has a thin red outline the laser will engrave the area and then cut along the outline.

 

Applications & Materials
Due to the incredible versatility of this process and the range of materials that can be processed the following list  a sample of what can be done with laser cutting.
  • Plastic / Acrylic – letters, stencils, plaques, rulers, templates, toys, awards, craft parts, boxes, etc.
  • Fabric – letters, appliqu?s, patches, ribbons, buttonholes, cut outs, decorations, craft parts, etc.
  • Foam plastic / rubber – stamps, protective bases, gaskets, decorations, toys, etc.
  • Leather – pockets, patches, craft components, key fobs, wallets, purses, knife sheaths, containers, bracelets, decorations, etc.
  • Paper – cut outs, scrap booking, crafts, gaskets, decorations, presentation bags, fold up shapes, etc.
  • Polyester and Mylar – stencils, templates, and patterns, resist film, covering, decorations, packaging, etc
  • Wood – models, letters, puzzles, grills, fret work, scrollwork, decorative accents, craft parts, robot parts, clocks, templates, boxes, toys, inlays, ornaments, signs, etc.

If you have any questions about what we do, if a material can be processed, or how the process can be used to make your parts please contact us.

We cannot laser cut:
  • Carbon fibre
  • Glass
  • Metals
  • PVC / Vinyl
To determine if your material is suitable for this process please send a small piece of your material (4″ X 4″) and return postage and we will make a sample for you.

 

Limitations:
The largest part we can laser cut is 24″ X 48″.
Plastic thickness is nominal and can vary by + or -10%.
The laser cuts at a slight taper. Due to the taper, one side of a laser-cut part (the side that the beam hits first) will have a slightly wider kerf (cut width) than the opposite side. The taper is almost unnoticeable in 1/8″ material and more noticeable on thicker material. Note that this is not the case for Acrylic, which cuts with a vertical edge up to 1/2″ thick.
The kerf (the thickness of the laser beam) is about 0.005″. See tips above to learn how to adjust for the kerf.
The edges of some materials including Lexan, wood, and paper may be discoloured by smoke or charring. The thicker the material the more discolouration there will be.
The accuracy of the cut will be +/- .002″.

 

Requesting a Quote
Once you have your drawing finished, you can send it along with an email to request a quote from us. Some of the things to include in the email would be:
  • The drawing as an attachment.
  • Contact information where we can reach you. Either by email or phone number
  • How many copies of the drawing you want cut
  • When you would need the finished product by
  • Material you would like to have the product made from.
  • Any other information that you feel would be helpful to us in returning a quote.
For larger jobs (order totalling over 2 hours and repeat production runs) we offer a lower per minute cost.
Orders paid by PayPal, money order, bank draft, or certified cheque will be added to the production schedule immediately.
Most items are shipped within 3 business days of receiving payment.
You can select from Canada Post, UPS, FedEx, or CanPar for delivery service.
If you have any questions about having a laser cut part made feel free to contact us any time.