Laser Cutting with Illustrator: Prepare texts and Embedding parts
In this part of the tutorial, you will learn how to handle texts for laser cutting, and how to assemble two acrylic parts together.
2.1. Prepare a text for laser cutting
1. Vectorize the letters: you must transform the text into an outline by converting the text into anchor points and curves: to do so: right click > create outlines.
2. Invert the inside and the contour , so you only have the outline left. When uploading your file on our website, you will have the possibility to choose whether you want to cut/engrave the contour or engrave the inside.
2.2. Prepare embedding parts
For this tutorial, we'll take a very simple example. As you can see in the image below, the two parts are supposed to embed into each other: each of the small platforms of the lower part will fit into a hole of the part above.
1. Take the kerf into account: decrease the hole's width. On the design, the length of the platforms and the length of the holes are the same. However, the he size of your design will be reduced by the laser's kerf, which means that, once cut, the parts won't fit into each other exactly. That's why we're going to slightly modify the design, so that the parts stay together. We simply need to decrease the holes' width in order to anticipate the kerf phenomenon. You can do object > path > offset path. You must set a negative value, because we want the offset to happen towards the inside.
2. Make the previous lines invisible: You can cut and paste at the same place, and make the previous lines invisible, since they're not useful anymore. This way, you make sure the parts will fit together properly, and the final object will stay put.
3. Create circles in the corners to prevent breakage
If the part is embedded as is, there is a risk that the platform will break in the corners, since the effort is very important. We advise you to cut circles, so that the effort will be distributed, and we'll avoid the risks of damage.
9. All you have to do now is ungroup theses lines, and join them, in order to get one shape, that you can now replicate, for the other holes.