In this Tips and Tricks article, we explain how to determine the perfect settings for processing Trotec laminates. We also provide the tried-and-tested laser settings for this material.
A Customizable Solution with a Visual Impact
Trotec's laminate collection can be used to create high-quality signage without the need for printing. As the laser beam engraves the material's top layer, a contrasting substrate is revealed. This results in highly visible text and images.
Moreover, TroLase is ideal for name tag, display stand, and wall décor applications.
Make Dual-Toned Stickers
Dual-toned stickers can be crafted by kiss cutting TroLase Foils. This technique involves narrowly cutting the top layer of the foil so that the substrate is left untouched. As a result, the foil is marked and its adhesive properties are not diminished.
In effect, the material's top layer is "kissed" by the laser beam, allowing the sticker to be peeled cleanly.
Choose the Right Table
To properly prepare your laser for processing laminates, we recommend that you use either the Aluminum Cutting Grid Table or the Aluminum Slat Cutting Table.
After placing your material on the laser bed, cover the remaining space to maximize the system's vacuum suction power. This trick will ensure that the laminate workpiece stays in place when being cut or engraved.
Engrave from Bottom to Top
It is recommended that you engrave workpieces from bottom to top because an exhaust mechanism is situated at the back of the laser. As the laser heard moves towards the back of the laser bed, areas that have already been processed are cleared of debris that can cause discolouration. This tip is particularly important for processing laminates that have a light substrate and a significantly darker top layer.
Select an Appropriate Design Resolution
It is imperative to pick the right graphic resolution in order to obtain the best results. The specific image used and the processing time are crucial. When working with TroLase, it is recommended that you use a moderate resolution (500 dpi). This will allow for finer details to be engraved onto your workpiece. However, it is also important to remember that the higher the resolution, the longer the processing time.
Use a 2” Lens
Our experts recommend using a 2" lens when working with laminates. This specific lens is particularly versatile: its focal length is wide enough to cut thicker laminates, yet it is still thin enough to engrave minute details.
Hence, with a 2" lens, you are able to create small and intricate details on your workpiece, and engrave larger surfaces with precision.
Use a Nozzle with a Large Hole Diameter
A nozzle with large hole diameter will create a weaker Air Assist stream, which prevents engraved TroLase from cooling to quickly. When the Air Assist settings are too strong, your design will have a light grey colour. Nevertheless, a moderate airflow is necessary to prevent debris from reaching, and potentially damaging, the lens.
De-Focus when Engraving a Large Surface
When engraving large TroLase workpieces, you can generally achieve better results by de-focusing the laser. To achieve definition in your designs, a z-offset of between 2 and 7 mm is recommended (depending on the laser power and machine resolution). De-focusing the laser beam reduces the formation of grooves, creating a smoother engraving finish.
The specific lens used is also important. It is advised that you use a lens with a greater focal length to engrave larger laminate workpieces. When it comes to very intricate details (e.g., 4 pt font), we do not recommend using a z-offset.
Clean Processed Workpieces
Given that your cutting and engraving settings are optimized, minimal cleaning is required after processing TroLase. Typically, only a damp cloth is needed because there is very little residue. An alcohol-free cleaner can be applied to the laminate if there is more debris than expected.
Our experts have extensively tested TroLase and recorded the best settings for laser cutting and engraving these laminates.
Get the best results with your Trotec laser system:
We also suggest using a grayscale matrix to find the settings for any materials with which you are unfamiliar. It is a quick and easy way to get the perfect parameters for your job:
TroLase laminates are ideal for both interior and exterior use. They can be easily customized to achieve your envisioned design, whether you are creating large-format signage or small, detailed decorative pieces.
Trotec offers single- and multi-layered laser materials in a wide variety of colours, textures, and thicknesses. Materials with adhesive backings are also available.