Templates are a very useful tool if you want to laser engrave more than one section in one work process to save additional time. Find out more about what to consider when creating templates.
In general, you can use any material that you can cut with the laser when creating your templates. TroLase is a particularly cost-effective option. It is dimensionally stable, easy to process and available in many designs.
Also pay attention to the thickness of the parts to be engraved when creating templates. For thin objects such as aluminum tags, use flat material for the template so that you can quickly and easily remove. For thicker workpieces such as pens, the material for the template also needs to be thicker so that the workpieces don't slip in the template.
The layout of the template depends on the volumes that you have to make. If you produce small quantities at regular intervals, you can adapt the template to these smaller quantities. If you need to process large volumes in one single order, adjust the template to the work area of your Trotec laser machine.
For large order volumes, it is more economical to apply the template in duplicate and with a base. You can use your work time efficiently by placing the first template in the laser and engraving it while you are reloading the second template outside.
Thanks to the base, loaded templates can be easily moved from the work table into your Trotec laser. The base should therefore be made of solid material. When gluing the base and template, ensure that they are glued properly one above the other.
The transfer of the workpiece contours is extremely important and should be a key factor for creating your template. There are several methods:
Option 1: Measure
If the outline of your workpiece is a simple geometric shape or letter, it is a easy and a good idea to measure the shape and trace it in your graphics program.
Option 2: Scan workpiece
If your workpiece consists of complex angles and radii, we recommend scanning the workpiece. Once scanned, simply transfer the file into your graphics program and trace the contours.
Option 3: Trace and scan
If your workpiece is too bulky for your scanner, you can trace the contours with a pen on a piece of paper and then scan it. When you import the scanned image into your graphics program, you can try to automatically convert the image using flash-vectorization. However, we recommend that you trace the contours yourself as a large number of unnecessary nodes are embedded in the contour during the automatic conversion.
When determining the contours of your workpieces, always ensure that you scan or align the shapes in a way that future engravings can run straight and don't have to be rotated. This makes it easier to align graphics and text fields on your workpiece.
It is helpful to trace special points in your workpiece (e.g. holes for bead chains, etc.) so that you don't accidentally position your engravings in these areas later.
Once the shape is determined, try cutting out the contour and insert your workpiece. If necessary, correct any unsuitable positions. Always use multiple workpieces when testing, as these can also be subject to production-related tolerances.
It is very helpful to add an additional cut-out in the shape of a semicircle. This makes it easier to remove the finished engraved parts.
In general, we recommend using the smallest possible lens (1.5" or 2") in order to keep the cutting gap as small as possible.
- If you use lots of different templates, we recommend engraving the name of the corresponding graphics file on them. This makes it quick and easy to find the right work file and match it with the template.
- Mark the corner of the unit in the zero point on the template so that you can quickly and easily insert it in the machine with the correct orientation.
- If your template is rather small and handy, it is useful to file it in a folder. To do this, simply laser holes in your template. Thus, your templates are kept safe and are quickly at hand.
- When you send your future engraving jobs to the laser, always send the entire graphic including the outer contour of the template. Before engraving your workpieces, set the color "red" to "positioning" in the parameters in the material database. This makes it easy for you to check whether the template is properly positioned in the machine.
- In order to quickly and reliably determine the desired position for laser processing read our tips and tricks for positioning aids.