Tips & Tricks for Laser Processing Paper

Trotec laser machines are the perfect tool for processing paper and cardboard items. You can create your own greeting cards, refine book covers, design table decorations or DIY packaging with a beautiful pattern when laser cutting or engraving. Here, you will find some helpful tips regarding the  laser cutting and laser engraving of paper and paper products..

Will my laser engraving on paper always come out dark?

Your engraving results will always depend on a few different factors. A dark and light laser engraving is possible with Trotec machines, even with dyed-through paper types. Therefore, a so-called colour change from dark to light can be achieved with a very low power output. You are also able to create dark, haptic engravings by using a higher output. When it comes to paper types with more than 1 layer, the cover layer will be removed, and the second colour will be revealed. 

Below, you will find a summary of techniques for paper processing, including examples of laser parameters:

Techniques for Paper Finishing

laser engraving on paper

How do I easily find the correct laser parameters for my paper?

There are so many kinds of paper and cardboard out there, so it is very important to know all the measurements and properties of the materials you intend of using. You can find the parameters for laser processing easily with help from the  test matrix. This will assist you in quickly determining the effects that laser engraving has on different kinds of paper and cardboard. You can then work out the best settings for you.

Tip: Fine paper types produced with two different-coloured layers can create amazing, contrast-rich engravings.

How do I avoid burnt edges when laser cutting paper?

When removing paper with a laser machine at high speed, the paper itself will evaporate as smoke. This smoke then transports the heat away from the paper, so the material is only minimally burnt. With optimal parameters, air assist and the table exhaust all turned on, the material can be finished completely smoke-free and without any slight burning on the edges at all, even if it has the finest of contours. You can achieve this clean, perfect cut with practice and tests.

laser cut paper focus

Which lens do I use for paper processing?

When laser processing paper, we tend to recommend using a 1.5" lens. This is because larger optics are not necessary due to the minimal thickness of the paper. The 1.5" lens is also best suited for filigree laser engravings, because fine graphics can easily be represented in a beautiful, detailed manner.  

setup for laser cutting paper

What is the correct table selection for paper?

You can increase the success of your engraving by selecting the  correct table. However, whenever you want to laser engrave paper, you only really need a vacuum table. You can ensure you always have the optimum vacuum if you cover the remaining working surface with scrap paper / other materials.

When you are ready to begin laser cutting your paper, we suggest using a comb cutting support, which is best used in conjunction with a vacuum table. This well help prevent unattractive cut marks on your vacuum table over time. It also significantly reduces the supporting surface of the material and minimises residue on the back of the material.

Tip: we recommend covering the processing surface completely with a cover material, so that when you work with the full vacuum on, the paper will adhere well to the table. Customary printer paper is completely sufficient for this.

Which resolutions should I use with paper?

The resolution always depends on your application. When you want to process 'normal' engraving jobs, we recommend using '500dpi resolution' and 'air assist ON'. This should combine Trotec’s amazing quality with the fast working speed, creating an economical and intelligent result. You can adjust both parameters in Ruby® or JobControl® via the material database.

For photograph engravings on paper, we recommend reducing the resolution to about 250-333dpi. This is because the screen points may appear slightly enlarged on paper, and in any case, may overlap if a higher resolution is used. But, if you only wish to cut the paper, we suggest setting the resolution to 1000dpi

How do I laser cut printed paper types as perfectly as possible?

You can cut incredible details from printed material with the Trotec software, Vision Print&Cut. A camera on the working head of the laser can read the printed registration marks. Any distortions in the prints are then detected and compensated, and the material is precisely cut. Production times are accelerated, and cost-intensive, incorrect cutting is avoided altogether.

Below, you will find some helpful tips for creating a graphic as well as daily work with the cutting software:

JobControl® Vision Instructions

How do I create a pop-up card?

Pop-up cards are very exciting and popular - for birthdays, Christmas holidays and everything in between. With Trotec, demanding graphics and geometries can be implemented quickly and easily. Below, you will be able to read about how to create pop-up cards in your very own graphics program.

Preparation of Pop-Up Cards

Further Information?

Need More Help?

You are always welcome to contact the  Trotec service hotline , where qualified and motivated laser experts can assist you with any questions or problems.

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