Bespoke laser cutting and engraving service based in Bristol

Adobe Illustrator Artwork Guide

Here are a few tips on how to create laser ready artwork with Adobe Illustrator.


Document Set Up

Make sure you are working in RGB colour mode and set your Artboard units to Millimetres

Document Setup > Millimeters

File > Document Colour Mode > RGB

Colour Coding


Laser Cutting Path: Red Lines: RGB: 255,0,0. Stroke Weight: 0.01mm/0.25 pt

Scoring (Vector Engrave) Path: Blue Lines: RGB: 0,0,255. Stroke Weight: 0.01mm/0.25 pt

Laser Engraving: Black Lines/Fills: RGB: 0,0,0. Stroke weight: minimum 0.40mm/1pt (Anything thinner won’t engrave)


Creating Text

All text must be converted into outlines once written in your chosen font and correct size.

Type > Font > Create Outlines

*Please Note - that the middle 'island parts' of letters will fall out, therefore you may need to alter your font or chose a stencil format.

Ungroup Objects

Before saving and sending you artwork please ungroup all objects. You can double-check this by looking in the layers window and checking there are no grouped paths.

Object > Ungroup

Create Closed Shapes

Ensure that vector shapes are closed and all continuous paths are joined. This is especially important for engraving solid shapes, and creating smooth cutting lines.

Select two end point > (Right Click) Join or Command J

Expand Objects

After you have finished your design expand all objects, for non-vector shape use Expand Apperance, this will ensure the stoke weights appear as shown on screen.

Object > Expand Appearance

If using an existing image to make a cutting path use live trace - this will turn it into a vector-based shape.

Object > Live Trace > Create and Expand

* You may need to alter some settings to trace it exactly right. Window > Image Trace

Release All Clipping Masks

Our laser program will see all artwork even if it is hidden in a clipping mask.

Object > Clipping Masks > Release

Reducing Anchor Points

Deleting unnecessary anchor points and simplifying paths will reduce cutting time and create smooth cutting lines.

Object > Path > Simplify - alter the curve precision to reduce excess points.

Delete Duplicate Lines

Check for repeated vector stokes, as any duplicated lines will be cut again.
These can increase the cost of producing your work and may damage the finish of your final product.

Final Artwork Check

To find any hidden extra points or objects check your artwork in Outline view, this will show everything the laser will see.

View > Outline

Sending Your Artwork

Once you have competed all the above checks you can send over your artworks as a .pdf, .ai or .dfx file to