is a laser cutter?
A laser cutter is essentially a
powerful laser beam that is produced inside a
machine. It consists of a sequence of mirrors
which direct the laser beam onto the material
to be cut. As the laser beam strikes the material
it cuts it by using an intense heat which vaporises
the material, leaving a polished face. Then motors
move the mirrors to adjust the cutting position
while the laser supply remains stationary. This
maximises movement speed and enables the laser
cutter to cut straight lines and smooth contours.
The power setting can also be reduced so that
the laser beam doesn’t cut completely through
the material, enabling engraving. Laser cutting
is suitable for cutting plastics, woods, paper,
card, cork, foam board, fabric and many other
materials. Laser cutting can also be done on metal
and glass but a more expensive laser is needed
for these materials.
What laser cutter does the
Lanfranc’s laser cutter is
from universal laser systems. Click
here to view the universal laser systems website
How can I create my design
on the laser cutter?
In order to cut or engrave a design
on the laser cutter it must first be drawn on
a vectored based software program such as Corel
draw or illustrator. The design needs to be drawn
as a vector file.
What is a vector file?
There are two basic types of graphic
files: Images and Vectors. Images are constructed
from a series of pixels, or tiny squares. Vector
images however have no pixels. They are displayed
or printed by using mathematical positioning.
A vector image breaks down into a mathematical
formula and contains messages like, draw a rectangle,
this size and at this place on the page. A vector
image looks like an illustration. Vector files
are usually considerably smaller than an image
file of the same image, since there is less information
required to achieve the same results.
How does a vector file get
printed on the laser cutter?
Once a vectored design has
been made in Corel draw you can print it to the
laser printer by simply pressing print. You will
then need to choose your laser settings. These
setting determine how much power you need to use
to cut though the material and these setting are
taken from the machines material power settings
table. The right setting is essential as if the
power is too low it will not cut through the material.
If the power is too high it will then cut though
the bed of the laser cutter. Once the settings
are correct you press print. The vectored points
are converted by the laser cutter into printing
points and the file is cut out of the required