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 How to Use a Laser Engraver to Cut Paper

 

Laser engravers cut complex designs out of paper accurately.

Laser engravers use low- and high-powered lasers to engrave images and text onto a variety of materials, including metal, cardboard and wood. Some laser engravers provide multiple operational modes, including raster and vector -- also called cutting -- modes. Raster mode engraves images onto a material, while vector mode cuts materials. Laser engravers with a vector mode, including low-powered machines, can cut simple and complex shapes out of paper using the laser engraver's printer driver on your computer.

1 Create or open an image in a graphic design program on your computer.

2 Prepare the image for cutting by converting it to black and white. Use black outlines to designate the areas that should be cut. For example; to cut the letter "A" out of paper, create an outline of the letter. Do not fill or surround the letter with color. Use thin lines for outlines. The laser engraver's manual may provide details on the appropriate line thickness.

3 Connect the laser engraver to your computer using the engraver's printer cable.

4 Launch the laser engraver's printer driver by clicking "Print" in your graphic design program.

5 Select the laser engraver from the printer options.

6 Set the laser engraver to cut or vector mode. Set the resolution to 300 DPI (dots per inch) or more. Set the cutting speed and power to the appropriate levels for your type of paper -- paper is typically cut on low-powered settings. The engraver's manual may provide suggestions. Set the project's size to the dimensions of your graphic design document. Set the cutting rate according to the suggestions in the engraver's manual. Some engravers may not provide all these settings, while others might provide more. Consult the engraver's manual to ensure you use the correct settings.

7 Click the "Print" button to send the document to the laser engraver for cutting.

Tips & Warnings

Practice cutting scrap paper before cutting your final project.

If you do not know which power and speed settings to use for cutting paper, start with the lowest power and highest speed settings.

Setting the engraver to a power too high for paper burns the paper