Laser cutting and laser etching are two separate processes, done on
separate machines. Learn the differences and file requirements for each.
Laser cutting is a “thermal separation” process, which means that the
heat from the laser beam cuts all the way through the metal. During the
process, a line-based (or “vector” file) such as an AI, DWG, DXF or
SVG file is sent to the laser, the laser traces the design and cuts the
shape with the laser beam. The end product is a cut-out shape or letter.
We only accept vector files for the laser cutter. If you’d like to learn more, check out the blog post below:
Laser engraving is often referred to as “scoring.” The vector file to
be etched is sent to the laser software, the outline is identified as
vector engraving. The design is is traced by the laser and then
engraved. The laser needs to move more slowly for etching than it does
for engraving. The result is scored lines on the surface of the metal as
opposed to being cut through.
Can I send a raster file to the etcher?
We only accept vector files for the etcher. While, we’d love to etch a
photo of your adorable pet, we need you to make your pet a black and
white, silhouette, and convert it to a vector file first.
In the example above the customer roughly drew over the major areas
of her dog in a raster program and then converted to vector using the
Inkscape (free vector software) tutorial below. Check out the following
tutorials for converting files in Illustrator and Inkscape.