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Laser Cutting: File Preparation

How to use the library's laser cutters.

Preparing Laser Files

  • Use a vector file type (like .svg, .ai, and .dxf files)

  • Cut lines should be RGB red (R 255, G 0, B 0) and have a stroke width of 0.01mm or less

  • Etch lines should be RGB blue  (R 0, G 0, B 255) and have a stroke width of 0.01mm or less

  • Anything you want rastered should be in black

  • Send us the dimensions of your file; sometimes scale gets lost between file types and softwares

  • Our laser bed is 18" x 24”, so anything you’d like engraved should fit within that

  • If you have a photograph you'd like engraved, we have a software specifically for photos (PhotoGrav), so you can send us the image itself

Video Walkthrough

This is a video walkthrough of some laser cutting basics, as well as how to prepare a file in Adobe Illustrator (timestamp 1:22) and in Microsoft PowerPoint (timestamp 7:03).

Laser cutting files can also be prepared from many CAD softwares, like SOLIDWORKS and Fusion 360. We recommend Product Design Online's "Learn Fusion 360 for Laser Cutting" series on YouTube.

Additional Help

If you have questions about working with Adobe Illustrator or another design software, check out the folks at the Software Training Desk right next to ours. They specialize in helping people with softwares like these!

If you have additional questions about file preparation, come see us at our desk or shoot us an email at We're always happy to help!