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Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

(OP)
I've been working on a design for something that is going to be laser engraved. We've done a few tests that's been okay, but now the design just comes out messy. There are lines and dots on the finished engraving that I can't find in any of my files.

What I've done to create the design is first make it in Illustrator, then I copy it as vector smart object into Photoshop and send the .psd files to the guy that'll do the engraving.

In a desperate attempt to make it right I've even recreated the design from scratch, but that seemed to only make it worse. (I haven't seen the result yet, I just got an e-mail from him now.)

I've been told that perhaps there are some white stuff left from making the design, but I've looked and looked and found nothing. And the machine that does the engraving are only supposed to scan black color. Now he thought maybe I'd used help lines and that they somehow messed it up, but I find that hard to believe, especially since everything not needed has been deleted from the files.

What is happening and what can we do? This need to be fixed quickly as we're in a rush to produce and sell these engraved products...
Replies continue below

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RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

have you checked the compatibility of your output files with the laser rip software? Find out what kind of laser it is and go to the company website for the requirements. Maybe the guy yr dealing with isn't as savvy with the files as he is running the laser. When I worked with a laser cutter/engraver (awesome! I got to burn holes in stuff and etch things with a frickin' genuine 'for-the-love-of-god-DON'T-get-near-the-beam!' LASER! Sci-fi...) it ran from corel (ew!) to the engraver. Once I had some strange output that was remedied by consulting the manufacturer's website for some specifics the manual wasn't exact enough about. Since it's a rush, can you work @ the guy's shop? Or no laptop? Just to save the back-and-forth emailing time, and also you would be able to see exactly what it was outputting.
Sorry I couldn't be more help; good luck!!
-E

'There is no LEASH LAW for the IMAGINATION!'
myspace.com/erixworx

RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

(OP)
The guy said Illustrator files would be fine the first time I contacted him, but after the first test he complained that the resolution of 300dpi was too low. So he suggested I copy the design into Photoshop with 1000dpi. I don't understand why that would be a problem, vector is supposed to be endlessly scalable... I asked him today what kind of files he usually got from other customers with successful results, and he said he could do anything as long as it was vector. I sent him the Illustrator files again today, and will be going there in a couple of days to check up on it. But if it didn't work now, I will certainly do what you said and find out what software he uses and research around that... Because I am pretty sure that the problem is with him and not my software or files...
Thanks for the quick response!

RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS


...the software used in engraving will likely output any vector line it sees, that includes lines and points that don't have stroke weights applied...

...view illustrator in outline mode (view menu), every black line, cross points or whatever will likely be output...
 

andrew

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  www.apepp.info
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RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS


...bear in mind you can have stray points on artwork, and lines that don't have line weights applied, but to illustrator these points and lines still exist...

...so if they exist in illustrator (even though you can't see them in normal view) the engraving software will see them...

...it is similar for when die cut shapes are made on wooden forms for the sharp blades to sit in...

andrew

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  www.apepp.info
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RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

(OP)
Just viewed in outline mode, and there is nothing there that shouldn't be there. The x's that appear in front of every font line is most likely just there to signal that it's text instead of drawing, right? (Anyway, those x's aren't anywhere near where the unknown dots and lines appear)

RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS


...the output guy is likely advising you to raster to 1000dpi because this then removes the possibility of invisible points and lines being transferred during the rasterization = cleaner artwork...

 

andrew

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  www.apepp.info
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RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

(OP)
"bear in mind you can have stray points on artwork, and lines that don't have line weights applied, but to illustrator these points and lines still exist..."

So if I unlock and show all layers and groups and everything, press ctrl+a and give everything a thick stroke or a fill, I might see if there's anything that doesn't belong?

RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS


Quote:

The x's that appear in front of every font line is most likely just there to signal that it's text instead of drawing, right?

yes

Quote:

So if I unlock and show all layers and groups and everything, press ctrl+a and give everything a thick stroke or a fill, I might see if there's anything that doesn't belong?

yes, that is one way, the hidden layers aren't in need of verification, as the hidden layers aren't visible artwork, if hidden then they won't be output anyway...


 

andrew

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  www.apepp.info
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RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

or make an object w/no fill or stroke and while it's selected 'select> same> fill & stroke' and it'll select any/all 'phantom objects' that have no fill/stroke. If there's a file with a lot of stuff or if there's a bunch of livetrace stuff, it's a good thing to do as a last step before closing it up/printing/outputting.
good luck; hope you get to watch the laser run, it's cool! Oh, casually inquire if he can cut some vinyl- if he says yes, then you know he does NOT know what he's doing: cutting/etching any vinyl product will result in the production of chlorine gas. Not only is this one of the gasses that killed thousands in WWI, and plenty of ammonia/bleach-mixing people since then, but it is HIGHLY corrosive and would kill his laser. So if he says he can do it, you know he don' know SHEEEEET!!

'There is no LEASH LAW for the IMAGINATION!'
myspace.com/erixworx

RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

(OP)
Well, I've just put a bright green stroke and a bright red fill on everything in the old files and the new. And I saw nothing weird. I also did what you said, erixworx, but it selected nothing apart from the empty shapes I drew... I don't know what to do now... Apart from waiting for Saturday to see what he made of the files I sent him today. Perhaps we should just find another engraver... But I thank you both for your replies! Even though I didn't find out anything, I certainly know what to look for next time instead of sitting here and pulling my hair out :P

RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

How about a PDF file?
It should, hopefully print the way it looks.

Otherwise I would open it in Photoshop at 1200 dpi and re-save it as a Tiff file.

Blow it up on the screen and check it out if it looks correct it should print correct and be clean enough for an engraving.

If it still doesn't come out right on his end he is doing something wrong.

Mike

RE: Design for laser engraving in IL and PS

I used vector artwork almost exclusively in the 7-8 months I ran the laser @ a former employer. Can use bitmap stuff, but he should be able to run stuff from Illy. If his laser is like the one we had, then he's running it thru corel; make sure you send him something corel won't choke on or bitch about.
 

Also, my method of finding strokeless/fill-less objects; revised-
show all layers, alt+ctrl+2 (right?) to unlock anything that's locked, then "make an object w/no fill or stroke and while it's selected 'select> same> fill & stroke' and it'll select any/all 'phantom objects' that have no fill/stroke"

'There is no LEASH LAW for the IMAGINATION!'
myspace.com/erixworx

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