An extremely useful tool, templates allow you to laser engrave multiple workpieces in one work process, saving valuable production time. Find out how to create your own template below.
Typically all materials suitable for laser cutting can be used as templates. TroLase is a particularly cost-effective option due to its stability, ease of processing and the availability of colours and thicknesses.
When creating a template pay attention to the thickness of the parts to be engraved. Flat materials are suitable for workpieces such as aluminium tags as you can quickly and easily remove the parts when they have been laser engraved. Thicker workpieces such as pens require thicker materials for templates so that the workpieces don't slip during laser engraving.
The layout entirely depends on your production volume. If you produce small quantities at regular intervals, you can adapt the template to these quantities, however if you need to process large volumes, adjust the template to the work area of your laser machine.
For large order volumes it is more economical to apply the template in duplicate and with a base. This allows you to efficiently utilise your production time by placing the first template in the laser and engraving your workpieces while you are reloading the second template.
Thanks to the base, loaded templates can be easily moved from the work table into your laser machine. Therefore the base should be made from a solid material. When assembling your template make sure that the base aligns with the template prior to gluing.
The transfer of the workpiece contours into your graphics program is a key part of the creation of templates. To accurately achieve the contours there are several methods you can use:
Method 1: Measure
If the outline of your workpiece is a simple, geometric shape, you can measure it then trace it in your graphics program.
Method 2: Scan workpiece
For workpieces with complex angles and radii, scanning the workpiece is recommended. You can then import the scanned file into your graphics program and trace the contours.
Method 3: Trace and scan
For bulky workpieces too big for your scanner, you can transfer the contours with a pen on a piece of paper and then scan it. Once imported into your graphics program you can try to automatically convert the image using flash-vectorisation.
However, we recommend that you trace the contours yourself as automatic conversion of the contours creates a large number of unnecessary nodes which are embedded in the contour.
When determining the contours of workpieces, always ensure that you scan or align the shapes so that in future you can run your engravings straight without rotation required. This makes it easier to align graphics and text fields on your workpiece.
It is beneficial to trace special points in your workpiece (such as holes for bead chains as an example) so that you don't accidentally position your engravings in these areas.
Once the shape is determined, try cutting the contour and inserting your workpiece. If necessary you can correct any unsuitable positions. Always use several workpieces when testing as these can be subject to production-related tolerances.
For templates it is helpful to add an additional semicircle cut out for each workpiece as this makes them easier to remove when you have finished laser engraving.
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 have lots of different templates you can engrave the graphics file name onto them for easy identification.
- Mark the corner of the unit of the template in the zero point for quick and easy insertion.
- For small templates it can be useful to file them a folder. Simply laser holes into your template and you can then keep them safely in a folder.
- When sending future laser engraving jobs to the laser, always send the entire graphic including the outer contour of the template. Prior to engraving your workpieces, set the colour "red" to "positioning" in the parameters of the material database. This allows you to easily check whether the template is properly positioned in the machine.
- To quickly and reliably determine the desired position for laser processing read our tips and tricks for positioning aids.