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Illustrator starter kit

Start your project

You must use ours design template to create your design.

After downloading the templates, open in Illustrator the format you prefer, as if it were a normal file. Make sure that File> Document Color Method be set as RGB, then start drawing.

You can design for laser cutting in one of three different material formats:

Vectorealism laser cutting format | P1 191x191

useful size:
181 x 181 mm

Vectorealism laser cutting format | P2 394x394

useful size:
384 x 384 mm

Vectorealism laser cutting format | P3 800x394

useful size:
790 x 384 mm

Vectorealism laser cutting format | P4 80x80

useful size:
790 x 790 mm

Vectorealism laser cutting format | 80x45

useful size:
800 x 450 mm
available only for
felt and cardboard

How to draw for the laser

The color used for the drawn lines determines what the laser will do, whether it is a cut or an engraving.

For example, if you're designing a little bird with a blue outline, the laser will cut a little bird ...

Laser cutting lines in Illustrator

If you convert the same lines in red, the laser will engrave the bird on the chosen material, and so on.

It's that easy!

Now let's get to the details ...

Cutting lines

The basic part of your design are the shapes you will cut.

The simplest way to visualize how this will turn into your project is to imagine placing on a sheet of paper the pieces you would like to make, and then draw their outline on the sheet with a pencil. Your file should remember that sheet with the lines drawn.

To obtain a cutting line, draw a line or shape.

Then set the track thickness as 0.01 mm:

Laser cutting lines in Illustrator

Set the color of the track as RGB blue with values 0, 0, 255:

Laser cutting lines in Illustrator

Engraving of vector lines

The vector etching process is very similar to the cutting method, but instead of piercing the material, the laser only affects the surface.

The laser will move along the engraving lines in your drawing. There are three different levels of engraving available: light, medium and deep, each with a different intensity and therefore depth. All three incisions are drawn very precisely with subtle lines, roughly the same size as the laser beam.

Trace thickness

Vector engraving lines must have a thick trace 0.01 mm:

Vector laser engravings in Illustrator

Light vector engraving

Set the track color as magenta RGB with values 255, 0, 255:

Light vector laser engravings in Illustrator

Vector media engraving

Set the color of the track as RGB green with values 0, 255, 0:

Medium vector laser engravings in Illustrator

Deep vector engraving

Set the track color as RGB red with values 255, 0, 0:

Deep vector laser engravings in Illustrator


Engraving of raster fills

Generally the incisions of raster fills are used for areas with backgrounds.

We do not recommend engraving elements that are smaller than 0.5mm in raster mode: it will not lead to good results.

The scale of the raster engraving goes from the black that corresponds to the most marked incision, up to the very light gray that will make the engraving lighter (or white, which corresponds to the null incision). You can use any grayscale between the two extremes, but remember that the three RGB values ​​must be equivalent. Make sure you use solid and spot colors and no patterns or textures.

To obtain a more defined border in an area engraved with a raster pattern, combine the black or gray fill with a track corresponding to a vector engraving.

Engraving of light raster fills

Set the fill color to light gray with the RGB values ​​of 230, 230, 230:

Raster laser engravings read in Illustrator

Engraving of medium raster fills

Sets the fill color as gray with the RGB values ​​of 128, 128, 128:

Medium raster laser engravings in Illustrator

Engraving of deep raster fills

Sets the fill color as black with RGB values ​​of 0, 0, 0:

Deep raster laser engravings in Illustrator

To use the text

All the texts inserted in your drawing must be converted into outlines. In this way the laser will follow your drawing correctly, even without having the same installed font.

To transform the text into a contour, just choose Text (Type)> Create Outline (Create Outlines) from the top menu. Once you run this command, you will not be able to edit the text, so do this after checking the spelling!

Using text in Illustrator

You can create texts using fills for raster engravings, lines for vector engravings, or a combination of the two types of incisions.


To use images

Our making system takes into account only the drawings in vector, ignoring all the images inserted in other formats (like.jpg or .bmp).

If you want to insert a non-vector image in your file, you have to trace it in vector. No need to do it by hand! You can do this simply by clicking on the inserted picture and using the command Object> Live Trace> Tracing Options. You'll see numerous tracing options, so do several tests until you find the one that's right for you. Make sure your traced shapes are presented in a uniform, flat color.

Using images in Illustrator

Then you will have to use the command Object> Expand (Expand). If the tracing worked correctly, you should be able to see the vectors all around the individual parts of the traced image. You will also find a transparent rectangular shape as a contour of the traced image: select it with the "Direct Selection" tool (white arrow) and delete it.

Finally, to select the desired raster engraving level, select all the traced elements and set the fill color.

How to remove double lines

If you place two objects next to each other, in such a way as to match the ends, it is very likely that you get the overlap of the cutting lines.

The double lines are quite easy to spot at a glance, as they are presented in a darker blue than other cutting lines. These double lines must be eliminated in such a way as to obtain a single cutting line, or, better said, a shared cutting line; otherwise the laser will literally cut the same part twice (which is not ideal for the yield on the material, or for your estimate!).

To delete the double lines, select them with the "Direct selection" tool (white arrow), then press delete (backspace) once or twice. Another cut line will remain, identical but with a lighter blue than the previous one. Removing double lines means optimizing the design, in order of yield and lead times.

Export the file

Step 1: Use the command File> Save As (Save as) and choose between the formats of the 'Illustrator EPS' menu:

Export the laser cutting file to Illustrator

Step 2: Select the version 'Illustrator 8 EPS'and make sure the' EPS Options' panel is like the one shown in the figure (with all the options unmarked), then click on 'OK':

Export the laser cutting file to Illustrator

Be sure to export to Illustrator 8 EPS and of disable "Include CMYK PostScript in RGB files". The export screen must show exactly like the one above, otherwise your file may not be correct.
Do not worry about the warnings with the yellow triangles!


Illustrator 8 EPS 

Preview Format: NONE

and all the options disabled.

DO NOT save in .svg format!

All clipping masks must be exploded.

How to check your design yourself before uploading it

Watch this video (in English) to learn how to make a final check on your drawings made in Illustrator. It's easy and just a few minutes!

Now you are ready to upload a file

Other guides for laser cutting and CNC milling

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