Creating Vector Files
What is a Vector File?
A vector file is a type of digital file that is made with mathematical formulas (rather than pixels).
Vector is the only ‘language’ that the laser machine can follow in order to cut, as the laser head is guided by the vector ‘points’ (also commonly called ‘nodes’) in the digital file.
What do I need to Make a Vector File?
- A desktop PC or Mac and a vector graphics program like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Ink Scape.
- Ink Scape is a free program that is very similar to Adobe Illustrator – it’s also commonly used enough that there are many tutorials online for how to use it.
Programs that Don’t Export Vector Files
There is a huge variety of programs that will allow you to create vector shapes, but they don’t always allow you to also EXPORT vector graphics.
- Programs like Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint (Manga Studio), Adobe Illustrator Draw will allow you to create a ‘vector’ layer within the program, but you will NOT be able to EXPORT vectors from these pixel based programs – they will rasterise/flatten/pixelise your vectors when exported, meaning they are no longer vectors graphics and aren’t suitable for use to order as a vector file.
How Does it Work?
The laser software will look at the shapes in your file and be guided by it’s content to laser cut and engrave how you have set it up.
- The laser cutter knows to cut any vector lines that have a 0.1pt RGB red (255, 0, 0) stroke.
- The laser cutter knows to engrave any areas that are RGB black (0, 0, 0).