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Laser Cutting Design Density Guidelines

Tips and guidelines to reduce design density

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An overly dense design will incur extra costs and slows production

Here are a few of our favorite tricks for keeping your parts affordable and quicker to cut.

Reduce the number of holes or “pierces”

Each time hole or feature is created, the laser makes a pierce. The pierce can be the slowest part of the cutting process, and each pierce can be from 10 to 2,000 milliseconds, depending on the material. Those milliseconds add up, and can increase the cost of your part. If you have a perforated pattern, consider spacing the holes apart more, or increase the size of the holes to reduce the total number of holes in the design.

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Refrain from super intricate, and delicate patterns

Our fiber laser is known for it’s accuracy and ability to cut small details, but, there are still limitations. Each cut means time that the laser is burning through the metal. On intricate designs with small bridges, this can result in the metal getting burnt edges and at times even warping.

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Eliminate duplicate lines and unnecessary geometry

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Sometimes when designing using layers, guides, construction lines, rulers, etc, there will be unnecessary design artifacts in your exported DXF file. We recommend opening your DXF file running a few checks:

  • All unused layers are deleted

  • Hidden or locked objects are removed

  • Guides and construction lines are removed

  • Text notes and dimensions are removed

  • Borders, titles and part numbers should be deleted

Basically, the only geometry that we need is the cutting path for the laser to follow. Check out our Design Guidelines for more details. 

Pre-flight Checklist

Make sure that your shapes are fully closed, without any open contours. The laser will follow the path of your shape, and if it stops, so will the laser. To quickly find these issues, view your design in Outline or Wireframe mode in your design software.

File is a two-dimensional vector format file

All holes and cutouts are at least 50% material thickness for laser cut parts

All holes and cutouts are no less than 0.070” for most waterjet cut parts

All holes and cutouts are no less than 0.125” for all CNC routed parts

File is built at a 1:1 scale, preferably in inch or mm units

All objects are on the same layer

All stray points, duplicate lines, empty objects and text areas have been removed

No shapes have open contours

All shapes have been united, combined or merged

All text has been converted to outlines or paths

Cut-out text (reversed text) has bridges or has been stencilized

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