We make your ideas

Drawing resources

TurboCAD®

TurboCAD is an excellent architectural / mechanical drawing software alternative to AutoCad and available at a fraction of the price. There are a few different versions to choose from but we’d recommend TurboCAD professional. Download a free trial.


How to setup a file in TurboCad


Preparing your file

Material templates

  • If using our materials, we recommend downloading our drawing templates. You don’t have to use them, but it helps to verify scale and material type. Materials come in all different sizes depending on the maximum sheet size supplied from the manufacturer. Use AutoCad templates (.dxf 2004 version) and open in TurboCad®.
  • If not using our templates or using your own material set your Reference Rectangle of you drawing to the size of the material sheet

Border

  • Offset a 5mm border around the reference rectangle / ensure that all drawing work is within this border

Measurements / scale

  • Make sure you are working in mm and drawing at the scale you want to have you components laser cut or engraved
  • You can put multiple drawings on one file only if all the components will be cut / engraved from the the same material and thickness. Make sure all drawings have reference rectangles that match the size of the sheets to be processed
    * If copying and pasteing components from another file, double check they are at the correct scale you require

Drafting vectors for laser cutting and engraving

Laser cutting

  • Draw all lines you would like to have laser cut in hairline 0.01mm and set to Red RGB 255,0,0

Vector engraving / scoring

  • Draw all lines you would like to have vector engraved / scored in hairline 0.01mm and set to Blue RGB 0,0,255

Raster engraving

  • Set all all portions you want to have raster engraved to: Solid hatch fill and Black RGB 0,0,0

Raster engraving standard appearance & depth

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.)

Bespoke depths / treatments:

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.

Up to 2mm is considered deep for most materials:

It is achievable, but the laser has to 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 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.


Advice on drafting vectors

Maintain continuous vector geometry

  • All lines must be in continuous vector geometry. If a strokes / closed shapes are constructed from more than one path, make sure that you join / close the paths

Arc segment curves

  • All curves must circular arc segments. You can’t use no Bezier curves, elliptical arcs, ellipses. Also make sure no curves are formed of very short, straight lines or vector masses. You might need to re-trace you curves if you come across this

Reduce points

  • Simplify / reduce the amount of points in the line paths, particularly in the curves.
    Using text
  • All text for engraving should be converted from a font to line art or polylines. Fill the line-art text Black RGB 0,0,0. Remove any stray hairlines also so to avoid them being processed

Cleaning up your drawing

Remove duplicate lines

  • When drafting your drawing ensure that there are no duplicate vector strokes stacked up on one another. If you don’t get rid of them the laser will cut / score these lines repeatable, ruining the material and damaging the laser bed.
  • You should easily spot double lines as they look darker than other lines. Direct select these and delete until you have just one cut line.

Clear Guides

  • Make sure all guides / rulers are cleared from the drawing before saving

Stray Vectors

  • Inspect drawing and delete any stray vectors lines that are not part of your drawing

Exporting your file

  • Save as .DXF 2004 version

File name
Save your files in the following named format, replacing the fields with the relevant information:

MATERIAL_THICKNESS_ARTBOARDDIMENSION_DRAWINGNAME

All the material drawing templates already have the material category name and art-board dimension by default, you will just need to enter your drawing name. Make sure you give easily identifiable names to your drawings:

For example:
BIRCH PLYWOOD_3MM_1200x600MM_ARCH MODEL1OF5

Upload your files for a quote»