Creating Digital Files for Your DigiLab Laser Cutter

You’ve got the perfect project idea and you’re itching to get started! What are your next steps and how do you turn this idea into a physical, tangible product? Knowing how to correctly create digital files for Dremel’s laser cutter will help you accomplish this goal!

 

The first step is to create your word art, my preference is to create it digitally on the computer in Illustrator. In this example I am creating a personalized wedding cake topper so I needed to double check the spelling of the last name at this step. If the fonts and spelling are the way you like you are ready to move on to the next step.

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This next step is really important when making a cut out. You must connect all of the pieces together so that when it is cut out it will be all one piece. I will be removing the spaces between words, and moving the Mr & Mrs down to meet with the last name. Its also important to remember punctuation and the dot on your “i”. In order to maneuver the fonts around in Illustrator you should convert the text into outlines and ungroup them. You will see once it is finished the top and bottom parts are touching in multiple places, and every part of the design is connected to the design as a whole.

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Once you get to this point we need to make sure that the whole design is one continuous
outline, instead of having each letter be a separate outline otherwise the laser will see
them as separate parts. The way that I do this is I export my design as a PNG or JPEG file.

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Then drag your new file that is a PNG or JPEG into Illustrator, select the image and then
use image trace, and expand.

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at this point you should ungroup the image and you will see that your wording has all
been outlined! You can go through and delete the white parts (the background from the
image you created) until you are left with only the image you want.

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At this point you need to decide if you want to cut the whole design out or engrave it on
to something! If it is going to be engraved you are done at this step. But if you are wanting
to cut the design out you need an outline, line file without the object filled in. In my case
I wanted this file to be completely cut out, so I needed to convert it to an outline file! All
you need to do is change the fill to outline on the object and make sure that the stroke
weight is low, I did 0.5 pt.. If the stroke weight is to high the laser software will recognize
the lines as objects and engrave instead.

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Export your file as PDF to prepare for your laser. Decide on a size for your design to be printed on in its final stages. Thinner and more intricate parts like we have on this design may require that you make your design a little larger so that the wood is not too weak in some areas. This sizing step may take some trial and error. Then you can simply drag it into the Dremel software! This was our final result which we were thrilled with!

Creating digital files can seem like an intimidating task at first, but once you familiarize yourself with the software and learn through trial and error you’ll be creating projects in no time! Making mistakes is part of the learning process and everyone goes through it. Learn from those mistakes and remember that all your hard work will lead you to a more beautiful end product! Happy creating!