Light engraving

Paper finishing techniques: Laser cutting and laser engraving machines

Paper is a diverse material which can be laser engraved and cut. From applications including digital printing to promotional materials and beyond, paper has a range of uses and laser processing offers many benefits to the process. In the below examples we use different techniques to create a paper movie voucher. You can find the parameters used by us in the table below.

The paper used was "Aqua Silver" from the Gmund 925 series, 290 g/m².


Deep engraving

For deep engraving, you will need relatively more power during laser engraving. You should assign the first engraving colour for this (black in our example).

In the parameter database, you should assign the appropriate parameters for the colour black. Use a higher power output and a lower speed for deep engraving compared to standard engraving to achieve the depth.


Light engraving

To achieve an elegant effect, you can bleach out the highest layer or the surface of certain types of paper. Bleaching out is an engraving process where  little or no material is removed during processing.

Assign the next colour for the surfaces you want to create. In our example we used red. Use a lower power and a faster speed than you would normally use for paper engraving when selecting your parameters.


Scratching

Scratching is a technique that can be used for intricate and very fine markings.

Assign a hairline using a different colour (we used blue) as a contour to the object. In the parameter settings, select cutting as the process and use a lower power output compared to standard paper cuting.


Engraving line

A similar process to scratching,  the engraving line technique uses a different thickness which is defined by the parameter settings.

As before assign a hairline to the object. (desert blue in this case.) Then, in the parameter settings, choose a Z-offset between 2-5 mm for the laser cutting process, depending on your desired line thickness. The power output should be similar to the scratching line technique.


Perforation

Perforation, a process that uses a discontinuous cutting line, can be used to seperate parts of your card.

To achieve this process, draw a cutting line (we used cyan). Then convert it into a curve and select a dashed line as the line style. Use the same parameter settings as with the filigree cut (see below).


Filigree cut

You can also cut filigree writing and designs using the laser by drawing an arbitrary form with a hairline as contour (we used cyan).

For your laser parameters use a lower speed and power output than with outer cut (see below).


Outer cut

When cutting the card out you can use a separating cut if there are no elaborate curves in the design. Assign a hairline for this (see ours in green).

Depending on the length of the straights to be cut, you can use up to 5% speed. Adapt the output power accordingly.


Adjustments to print settings

Send your job to the laser using the following settings. Ensure that you use colour when screening so that all parts of the design are are processed.

We used a 80 Watt Speedy 360 with a 1.5" lens for our job.

Print settings

Process type Resolution Cutting line
Standard 500dpi none

Screening

Others
Colour Optimised geometries, internal geometries first

 

 

Laser parameter settings

Next select your parameter settings. The laser parameters will deviate depending on your chosen paper, as well as your laser machine and the laser power output available.

Tip: Try using different types of paper. You can test the settings on a test piece. Use our gray scale matrix for this.

Laser parameters

Laser parameter Color Process Power (%) Speed (%)
 Deep engraving Black CO2 engraving  36 30 
Light engraving Red CO2 engraving 19 40
Scratching Blue CO2 cutting 2.8 0.6
Engraving line Desert blue CO2 cutting 5 1
Filigree cut/perforation Cyan CO2 cutting 8 0,5
Outer cut Green CO2 cutting 20 2
ppi/Hz Passes Air Assist Z-Offset Advanced
500 1 on - optimized quality
500 1 on - optimized quality
1000 1 on - -
1000 1 on +4mm -
1000 1 on - -
1000 1 on - -

Inspiration

You can of course use all these techniques which we have presented to you here with other types of paper.

For an individual touch, you can also add photo engraving. In the JobControl® print settings use the process option “Photo” and the halftone "Ordered Dithering” for this.

Caution: No other engraving techniques, such as light engraving or deep engraving, can be combined in with photo engraving or the halftone "Ordered Dithering". The colors used for this would be screened, thus converted into gray scale. However, these settings do not have an effect on the colors of the cutting lines. If you still would wish to accommodate all techniques in the card, send the image separately and work with markers for exact placement.


Additional information

Do you have any questions or need more help?

Contact the Trotec service hotline where top qualified and motivated laser experts will assist your enquiry.

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