The following guidelines give a detailed step by step overview of how to set up your drawings for in AutoCAD Software. You can download a demo copy for free that you can use for up to 30 days.
If using our materials, we recommend using our drawing templates, they help to verify scale and material type. Materials come in all different sizes depending on the maximum sheet size supplied from the manufacturer.
Templates for AutoCad can be downloaded from the templates page. Once downloaded, select and open the sheet size that is large enough for your components.
If you want all your parts cut / engraved from the same material, arrange into multiples of the same template.
If you want parts cut / engraved from multiple materials, use the corresponding templates for chosen material.
Try and use templates that suit best the scale of your drawings. i.e. if your components can fit within a 1000mm x 500mm template, do not position your drawing on a 2000mm x 1000mm template with lots of excess.
If you have lots of small components from the same material, it is best to draft these on a series of smaller templates approximately 1000mm x 500mm rather than on one large template. Cutting & engraving densely populated files over large areas can cause the material to warp during the process.
If you have elements of your drawing that will only fit onto a large template but do not need to use a whole sheet, just leave the remaining areas blank. We will only charge you for the amount of material you need.
If adapting architectural drawings from a real scale, they will most likely dwarf the reference border rectangle. You will need to scale the drawing down via the correct scale factor.
To do this:
1 / Drawing print scale x Unit conversion factor = Scale factor
You will get a decimal number.
You will most likely need to search for the scaled down drawings on your screen. Once you have found them, place within the template / reference rectangle.
For everything you would like to have laser cut you will need to put all these lines onto a separate layer and set to the following specifications:
For everything you would like to have vector engraved / scored you will need to put all lines onto a separate layer and set to the following specifications:
For all materials, we have established optimized settings. In vector engraving terms the marking is cosmetic. Our optimum settings are shallow and typically a balance between legibility and cleanliness. (The Strokes & Fonts sample (0.25pt) on the material pages demonstrates the clarity achievable on each material.)
Set the Line weight to 0.05mm or as thin as you can make.
It is rare to raster engrave from drawings drafted in AutoCAD, but it is possible. As it is a purely vector-based program no lines can be raster engraved. Make sure all your lines you require to be engraved are set to vector engrave.
Set all portions you want to have raster engraved to:
When arranging artwork for engraving that have a few components on one sheet, it is best to keep all of the raster engraving as close together as possible and in horizontal row.
We have established optimized settings for all materials. In raster engraving terms the marking is cosmetic, shallow and typically a balance between legibility and cleanliness. The Strokes & Fonts sample on the material pages demonstrates the clarity achievable on each material.)
If you would like to achieve a deeper result or an engraving a little heavier let us know your specification. In laser terms depth is usually specified in microns. Our standard engrave is approx. 0.25 microns (depending on material) and has excellent legibility.
It is achievable, but the laser must run slowly meaning the concentrated heat build-up makes the material appear quite burnt / heat scorched. It is also more expensive to process. Raster and vector engraving is not an absolute science in terms of depth specification and therefore not suitable for making mechanical grooves or any features requiring precise depths. Achieving a certain depth is balance in variation between the laser power and speed. A depth of engraving will always be within a tolerance of +/-0.2mm.
All text used for labelling purposes will need to setup to be vector engraved / scored. To do this, you will need to make sure the font you use is not bold or solid hatch filled font:
If using a bold solid hatch filled font such as Arial and you are using a PC, you can use the Express tools command to retain the font style in outlines. To do this:
The command is not perfect, and you might need to delete any stray lines within the outlines:
This is particularly important when scaling architectural drawings from real scale using a scale factor. Be sure to check your cut widths on your scaled drawing before sending. Something drawn in real scale (e.g., a window frame) might scale to a width that will not hold together when laser cut. You might need to adapt these details slightly as a compromise.
Try and draw in polylines if you can maintain continuous vector geometry. If drawings are drafted with lines from more than one path, make sure that they are joined.
Joining lines – (note this will only function for single lines that are co-linear)
To join multiple polylines, use the Pedit command
When drafting your drawing ensure that there are no duplicate vector strokes stacked up on one another. If you do not get rid of them the laser will cut / score these lines repeatable, ruining the material and damaging the laser bed.
You will also need to draw with the least number of points possible without sacrificing the appearance. If you can reduce them, we suggest you do. The machines will read your drawings better.
To delete duplicate lines and reduce points within Polylines you can use the Overkill Command. (Delete duplicate objects)
To do this:
Adjust the commands to suit your needs.
The “Numeric Fuzz” is the “Fuzz factor” that is set to 0 (zero) by default. This function analyses how closely objects are overlapped. For example, if two lines look to be overlapped, but one is very slightly off – you can increase this “fuzz factor” and overkill will look for objects that are more minutely overlapped.
Save your files in the following named format, replacing the fields with the relevant information:
The material drawing templates already have the material category name and reference rectangle dimension by default, you will just need to enter your individual material specification and drawing name. Make sure you give easily identifiable names to your drawings:
BIRCH PLYWOOD_3MM_1200x600MM_ARCH MODEL1OF5