Tips & Tricks for laser processing of paper

Trotec laser machines are the optimum tool when processing paper and cardboard. You can refine greeting cards, book covers, table decorations or packaging with a noticeable engraving or filigree pattern by laser cutting. Here are some helpful tips regarding the laser cutting and laser engraving of paper.

Will the laser engraving on paper always become dark?

The engraving results depend on different factors. A dark as well as a light laser engraving is possible even with dyed-through paper types. Therefore a so-called color change from dark to white can be achieved with a very low power output. You can also create a dark haptic engraving by using a higher power output. In the case of paper types with two or more layers, the cover layer is removed and the second color is thus visible.

Below is a summary of techniques for paper processing for you, including examples of laser parameters.

Techniques for paper finishing

How do I find the correct laser parameters for my paper in the easiest way?

There are infinite types of paper and cardboard, so it is important to know the properties of the material used. You can find the parameters for laser processing easily with the help of the test matrix. This will help you quickly determine different effects of laser engravings.

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

How can I avoid burnt edges when laser cutting paper?

Paper removed during laser cutting at high speed will evaporate as smoke. The smoke transports the heat away from the paper, so the material is only minimally thermally burdened. With optimum parameters, Air Assist as well as Table Exhaust, the material can succeed smoke-free without burnt edges even with the finest contours.

Which lens do I use for paper processing?

For processing paper, we generally recommend using a 1.5" lens because larger optics are not necessary for the minimal thickness of the paper. The 1.5” lens is also best suited for filigree laser engravings, as fine graphics can be represented in a detailed manner.

The correct table selection for paper

You can increase the success of your engraving by selecting the right table. However when you want to laser engrave paper, you only need a vacuum table, which provides optimum vacuum if you cover the remaining working surface.

When you are ready to laser cut your paper, we recommend using a comb cutting support, best used in combination with a vacuum table. This helps prevent unattractive cut marks on your vacuum table with the honeycomb cutting support. It also significantly reduces supporting surface of the material and minimizes residue on the back side of the material.

Tip: We recommend covering the processing surface completely with cover material, so that you work with full vacuum and the paper adheres well on the table. Customary printer paper is completely sufficient for this.

Which resolutions do I use with paper?

The resolution always depends on your application. When you want to process "normal" engraving jobs, use "500dpi resolution" and "Air Assist On". This will combine very good quality with a fast working speed. You can adjust both parameters in Ruby® or JobControl® via the material database.

For photo engravings on paper, we recommend reducing the resolution to 250-333 dpi, as the screen points appear slightly enlarged on paper in any case and would overlap, if a higher resolution was used.

If you only want to cut the paper, set the resolution to 1000dpi.

Precise laser cutting of printed paper types

Cut incredible details from printed material with the Trotec software, Vision Print&Cut. A camera on the working head of the laser reads the printed registration marks. Distortions in the print are detected and compensated, the material is precisely cut. Production times are accelerated and cost-intensive incorrect cuttings are avoided.

Here you find helpful tips for the graphics creation and daily work with the cutting software.

JobControl® Vision instruction

Creation of pop-up cards

Pop-up cards enjoy more and more popularity. Whether invitation cards, calendars of greeting cards - demanding graphics and geometries can be implemented quickly and easily with the laser. You can read here how you can create a pop-up card in your graphics program

Creation of pop-up cards in the graphics program for laser processing

Further information

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