We pride ourselves in quick turnarounds and fair pricing. The better the file you send, the quicker you’ll get your parts. Read our guidelines below before sending your first file.
We only accept vector files for the laser. We currently accept AI, DWG and DXF (more coming soon) in our automatic online quoter. If you design your parts in Adobe Illustrator, please send us the ai file. We’ll take care of the conversion on our end.
Accepted for Custom Quote
We’ll gladly accept .eps and .step files, but these won’t work in our automatic quoter. You can request a custom quote and we’ll get back to you right away.
Only have a raster file?
Don’t worry, we have tutorials to help you convert your art to vector in Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape. You can also contact us and we’ll convert it for you for a small fee.
We’re here to help you every step of the way in designing your laser-cut parts. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Artwork is correctly scaled
Your art should be sent to us at the exact size you want it cut. If you’ve converted your file from raster, did you make sure to scale it to the correct size? Have you printed out your design to make sure the size is what you had in mind?
File includes only what is to be cut
To save time on our end, be sure to remove any instructions, dimensions, scales, and borders from your file. You should only be sending us what you want cut. If you need to explain further, please make a note on your order. We’ll contact you right away if we have more questions.
File is one-up
We’ll take care of nesting multiples on our end. Send us your file one-up and tell us how many you want using the quantity field. This will ensure your parts are nested correctly and believe it or not – it will save you money.
Have different parts to be cut from the same metal?
The same rule applies. Don’t try to jam as many parts together as you can. Lay out one of each shape and tell us the quantity. Always leave a safe amount of room between parts. 1.5x metal thickness is a good rule of thumb.
File has been checked for common issues
We run into the following issues on a daily basis. We’ve created tutorials to help you identify and solve them so you can get your parts as quickly as possible.
All text has been converted to shapes/outlines.
The laser cannot cut live text, so it must be changed into shapes. The easiest way to know if your text is live is to try and highlight it with your cursor. If you can edit it… it’s live.
Nested shapes and type have been stencilized or connected with bridges
In the example below, all the shapes marked in red on the right will be lost because they are not connected to the outer shape. You can remedy this by creating bridges like you see on the example on the left.
Check out our tutorials on creating bridges:Creating Bridges for Nested Shapes
No shapes or cutouts are smaller than 1.5x material thickness
Any cutouts smaller than material thickness will not be accurate and may not be possible to cut. In the example below the red circles are all too small to cut correctly.
There are no intersecting or common lines
Check your design to make sure no two parts are touching or sharing a line. Be sure that no lines overlap or intersect with each other. The laser will not interpret these lines. View your part as outlines to quickly spot these issues.
Your file contains no empty objects or open contours.
Open contours is a fancy way of saying your shape is not connected all the way around. The laser will follow the path of your shape. If it stops, so does the laser. Viewing your art as outlines is a quick and easy way to find these.
Before designing your first sign, think about the installation. A little pre-planning can save you a lot of time in the end. Here are three basic sign styles.
By negative design, we mean your type and logo are reversed out of a shape. In the example below you can see our logo and tag line reversed out of a rectangle. The key to this design is the bridged letters and shapes as mentioned above. This sign will be very easy to install as there is one one part.
If you”re really wanting a positive design, you can make your life a little easier by connecting shapes and letters using an underline like our second example. The installation is a little more difficult as you will now need to line up two separate pieces.
Sometimes we want what we want. And sometimes what we want is separate letters for our design. In this example you’ll see that we have a LOT of separate parts to line up. If you decide to go this route, we recommend making a paper template to use as a guide.
How our pricing works
We not only offer laser-quick turn-around times, but we also offer our service for much less than “the other guys”. We have a simple formula for pricing your parts.
We have a minimum fee of $29. This covers all the extra details not covered below. Beyond the minimum fee you pay only for the price of each part. Your price per part goes down the more you order, so up your quantity 🙂
Metal + Thickness
We offer a variety of metals in multiple thicknesses. To learn more about what we offer, please see our Metals page. The thicker the metal, the more it will cost.
Overall part size (up to 48″ x 120″)
The size of your part is width x height of your part. You’ll see your exact dimensions when you upload. We can cut parts up to 48″ x 120″. Need something larger? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a custom quote.
Design density is the intricacy of your part. The more detailed and intricate, the longer it will take for the laser to cut. We measure density in pierces. Each shape requires one pierce from the laser.
What to expect
Your parts will be shipped flat, and securely to make sure they aren’t loosely floating around in your package.
We cut the majority of our metals using high-purity nitrogen to obtain a clean edge on parts (little to no oxidation). However, for steel thicker than .135″ and all thicknesses of copper, we use oxygen as an assist gas. This will result in some oxidation on the cut surface. Before you paint, weld, or plate your parts, you will need to remove that oxidation. This can be done easily using a chemical process (muriatic acid), or mechanical methods such as a wire brush or rotary tumbler.
Laser-cut aluminum will have a bit of dross buildup on the underside of your part(s). This is a normal occurrence from the cutting process. Due to manufacturing variables, your parts may also have small cosmetic imperfections/scratches. If you require a cosmetically-perfect finish, additional processing is available for a fee. Contact us at email@example.com or make a note on your order to discuss options.
Software Specific Tutorials
If you need software specific help for designing, check out one of the tutorials below. We’ll add more tutorials soon.
Other services and add-ons
We do offer etching, however this process is still in beta. We’re happy to give you a custom quote. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about laser-etching.
We do offer custom finishing options for an additional fee. Hanging your sign right away? Creating a gift for someone? No problem. Just let us know at checkout and we’ll contact you for details.
We’re pretty quick, but if you absolutely need your parts faster, we do offer an Overnight option. To guarantee you receive your parts the next day, your order must be a metal we currently have in stock, and your order must be placed before noon PST.
Before you go…
Go over this checklist once last time before sending your first file:
File is a two-dimensional vector format file. If you're designing in Adobe Illustrator, please send us your .ai file.
File is built at a 1:1 scale
All text has been converted to outlines or paths
Reversed text has bridges
All stray points, duplicate lines, empty objects and text areas have been removed
No shapes have open contours
All shapes have been combined or merged
All objects are on the same layer
All holes and cutouts are at least 1.5x material thickness
No feature or detail is smaller than 0.063" (1/16")