For our services, you can keep it simple and order via our Custom Cuts Shop (suitable for hand drawn artworks) – no computer skills necessary and discounts available on multiple quantities.
If you’re vector savvy, follow our guides for Quote by File (suitable if you are able to use a digital program that can create a vector file) – you’ll be able to lay out assorted designs per material and save on set-up fees.
Follow the set-up guides below based on what suits your skill set/requirements.
When you order from the Custom Cuts Shop, we’ll use our graphic design skills and knowledge of the laser machine to help set up your artwork for the best results. We’ll check over your requests and let you know if we notice obvious any issues.
If anything in the guide is unclear, that’s no problem – just send through whatever you have to get the ball rolling and we’ll be able to help.
- You may send through any type of image/artwork/design – whether it’s a rough pencil sketch, a design that you’ve created in Photoshop, or a photograph. If you’re ordering silhouette charms, your artwork must be a black and white single silhouette.
- If you have a complex or multi-layered designs, get in touch before placing your order.
- If your design is simply text, a word, or a phrase, you can send us a digital image of your word/s ready to go, or you can tell us your word/s and we will set up the design for you. To do so, find a font online that is free for commercial use and send us a link to the font. You can find free fonts online at a number of sites including: Dafont, Google Fonts, Font Space, Font Spring, Font Squirrel. We will cut/etch your word/s exactly how they appear when you type it, so be careful to check your spelling and punctuation e.g. ‘Your Name’ vs ‘yourname’.
- You may need to indicate dimensions, unless the dimensions are dictated by the custom cuts shop listing. For example, if you purchase ‘Medium Etched Charms’, your design will be scaled proportionally to fit the maximum area possible for this size (unless requested otherwise).
- Make sure that your artwork is at least the size of the product that you are ordering, or larger. We can generally always scale an image down, but images don’t always scale up clearly. Images should be at least 300dpi and preferably in .jpg format.
- If you have created your design larger than the size that it will be made, it’s a good idea to print it out at the size that it will actually be. Sometimes seeing things at their actual size in real life can help to identify any parts that aren’t working well.
- If your design is detailed, or it’s physically larger than the product that you’re ordering, it’s a good idea to print it out at the size that it will actually be and see how it looks. It’s difficult to gauge how images on a screen will look when they’re printed/laser cut/laser engraved and printing it out on your home printer is by far the best test to get an idea of how your design will look. You might find that your design it’s too detailed and needs to be larger, or that some parts are too fine and need to be thicker, or it might be just perfect! We are not responsible for ensuring that your design does not contain parts that are too detailed.
Designing for Laser Cutting and Engraving Tips
- Remove any smudges or marks from around your design that do not want to be there (like dust or un-erased lines). Unless requested otherwise, we’ll set-up your file exactly how it appears, and any marks may show up in the final product.
- If your design includes engraving, try to make sure that the details aren’t too fine (thin lines may not etch well). As a guide, we recommend a minimum line width of 0.2mm or 0.5mm if inverted. The ability of materials to show up fine engraving varies, so while we’ll let you know if we notice obvious any issues, we are not responsible for ensuring that your design does not include details that are too fine.
- The laser machine is able to cut very fine and detailed shapes, but it’s important to make sure that parts of the design aren’t too thin; thin shapes may break when handled. We recommend a minimum width of 2mm. We are not responsible for ensuring that your design does not contain parts that are too thin.
- Write and draw AROUND your design (not over your artwork if possible) to indicate any requests that you would like added in, such as the location for necklace holes.
Files that Won’t Work
- We may not be able to work directly from an image that is too low resolution.
- We often can’t work from images found on the internet – most files online are only 72 dpi/ppi and aren’t high enough resolution for the laser machine.
- We can’t set-up a file or create a custom design based on a photograph that you have taken or found of someone else’s work.
- We don’t offer complex design services (we do our own in-house basic graphic design). If you have a detailed or heavily complex creative idea in mind that you would like to have brought to life, consider contacting an illustrator or graphic designer.
- For no reason should you add a red line to your artwork to indicate cut lines. Cut lines can only be made from a vector line, and adding any other type of red line will make it more difficult to set-up your file.
Ordering via Quote by File is generally the most cost effective way to order, as you’re only charged for laser time and material use. However, you’re responsible for making sure that the file is set-up correctly and that it is suitable for the laser machine. You can use as little or as much of a material sheet as you would like – you do not need to order a whole sheet. In order to make your vector file laser-ready, follow the guides below.
- For any lines that you want to be cut, give them a RED (255, 0, 0) 0.1pt stroke.
- You must leave at least 1mm between each object to cut and stay within 2-3mm from the edges.
- Completely remove any lines in your file that are not required, including any duplicate lines (the laser will cut every red line in your file, even if they are hidden by a shape or clipping mask). Duplicate cut lines may cause burning and scorching from excessive cutting.
- You may ‘share’ cut lines between shapes.
- For more information about cutting, read our guide to About Laser Cutting, Etching and Printing.
- For any areas that you want etched, give them a BLACK (0, 0, 0) FILL.
- Etching can be done from any type of digital image file (e.g. .jpg, .psd, .png, .tiff, .pdf, .ai.).
- The laser cutter will etch any areas that are black. The laser cuter will lightly etch any areas that are in grey and/or grey scale. Any areas that are white will be left unmarked.
- It’s OK if your areas to etch (black lines) go outside of the shape that you are cutting (red lines).
- For more information about etching, read our guide to About Laser Cutting, Etching and Printing.
- For any thin lines that you want done with line engraving, give them a BLUE (0, 0, 255) 0.1pt stroke.
- For more information about line engraving, read our guide to About Laser Cutting, Etching and Printing.
- Set your document size to the size of the material that you would like to use. Material sheet sizes can be found via the materials page. Generally, most of our materials are 600mm x 300mm (if you do not know what material you are going to use make your document 600mm x 300mm).
- You can use as little or as much of a material sheet as you would like – you do not need to order a whole sheet.
- Create your file in RGB colour mode.
- Save your file as a .ai or PDF. Ensure that you preserve the illustrator editing capabilities and include any linked files.
- To get an idea of how your file is going to look, it’s a good idea to print it out on paper at home. Sometimes seeing things at their actual size in real life can help to identify any issues.
- The laser cutter is able to engrave very fine details, but it’s important to make sure that parts of the design aren’t too thin; thin areas may not etch well. We recommend a minimum line width of 0.2mm or 0.5mm if inverted. We are not responsible for ensuring that your design does not include details that are too fine; if you are unsure about whether or not your design will work well, we recommend ordering a sample cut of your design.
- Make sure that parts within the file aren’t too thin; thin shapes may break when handled. We recommend a minimum width of 2mm. We are not responsible for ensuring that your design does not contain parts that are too thin; if you are unsure about whether or not your design will work well, we recommend ordering a sample cut of your design.
Material Use Tips
- Your materials price will be based on the maximum column of material that you use.
- Lay your file out in ‘columns’ (from top-to-bottom, and from left-to-right) based on the material height (specified on the materials page).
- You do not need to order a whole material sheet.
- If it’s desirable, it can be a good idea to fill in gaps with smaller designs (but this will increase laser time).
The sample layouts use grey shading to indicate areas charged for material usage; you can see in the poor example that because the designs are not arranged in a column. Excess material is being used and poor/unusable off-cuts being created.
- For any areas that need to be raster etched, group them from left-to-right, top-to-bottom.
- The laser will work from left-to-right, top-to-bottom for etching (the same as how Westerners read), so you will be charged for etching the spaces in between, even if you are etching just on the edges.
- Etching is priced by the total surface area that the laser head moves over; there is no difference in price for the amount of etching that you do in this space (e.g. solid black is OK).
The sample layouts use grey shading to indicate areas charged for etching; you can see in the poor example that because the areas to be etched are spread out the laser is having to move over excess areas.
Example of a good layout on a full 600mm x 300mm sheet.