File Preparation Instructions

All parts should fit in a rectangle 31.75 inches by 17.75 inches .

File Preparation: AutoCAD files can be used to control the laser cutter. We can read all AutoCAD DWG and DXF formats.

• All entities should be in model space and created by AutoCAD, not ARX or other add-ons.

• All entities should have zero-line width.

• All line types should be continuous and defined ‘By Layer’.

• Layer should define all colors. (Set all entity colors to ‘By Layer’)

• Eliminate all double or overlapping lines. (Failure to do so will result in double cuts and scores).

• Join all polyline entities.

• Eliminate all entities, blocks, layers, etc. that do not relate to laser cutting.

• Polylines are preferred over splines. Splines can result in unexpected errors.

Organize your drawing by material. Place all the entities to be cut from the same material in one 31.75 by 17.75laser bed. Then place all the laser beds you want cut in one master file.

Each shape within the laser bed should be drawn with joined polylines. These polylines should be on layers, which then define the way the laser cuts, rasters or scores. Define the layer color according to the table below. Name the layer describing the type of cut/score/hatch. Please follow these color conventions.

Color AutoCAD # Type of cut

Standard orange 30 cut

cyan 4 cut

magenta 6 light score

blue 5 deep score

yellow 2 standard score

green 3 standard score

red 1 raster and fast score

black 7 unused

Part Design: Consider these tips when designing your model parts:

• 1/16” is approximately 0.06”; 1/32” is approximately .03”. We work in decimal inches. Materials used in model making are usually slightly thinner than their nominal dimension. 1/16” acrylic is .060”, 1/8” acrylic is 0.118”.

• We refer to material by its decimal inch thickness.

• The kerf of the laser beam is about 0.008” in 1/16” material, .012” in 1/4” material. In most cases you can ignore this small amount.

• Score lines should not be closer than 0.010” to one another.

• Cut lines should not be any closer than the thickness of material. For example, in .060” acrylic, parts should be no thinner than 0.060” – no cut lines closer to each other than 0.06. This limit can be adjusted for museum board, but should be generally observed.

• Include a few extra of each type of part for repairs and changes.

• Thin parts are best cut from museum board. Acrylic tends to melt and warp.

Materials: We most often cut paper and acrylic. If you have another material in mind, check with us first. We do not cut the following materials: PVC boards (like Sintra), any metals, polycarbonates, and glass. We generally use the following materials:

• Acrylic in these thicknesses: 0.030”,0 .060”, 0.095”, 0.118”, 0.177”, 0.220”, 0.350”, 0.470”. Color is clear; some thicknesses are available in black and white.

• Museum board in these thicknesses: 2 ply (0.030”) and 4 ply (0.060”). Colors are black or off white.

• Bristol board in these thicknesses: 1 ply (0.007”), 2 ply (0.015”), 4 ply (0.030”). Color is white with medium surface.

• Chipboard in these thicknesses: 4 ply (0.050”), 8 ply (0.12”)

WEB Laser Cutting instructions2020 file prep.pdf