templates for dog tags

Creating templates

Engrave multiple parts in just one work process

Laser engraving templates: What they are and when you should use them

A laser engraving template is exactly what its name implies: an example or guide for creating (or re-creating) a design. Templates can save you a great deal of time, and are particularly useful if you want to laser engrave multiple parts in one work process. Below are a few things you should consider when you are creating templates. 

Is the material I am using suitable for making a template?

The answer to this question is generally yes. You can use any material you can cut with the laser to create your templates. Trotec TroLase is a particularly high-quality and cost-effective option. Learn more about Trotec laminates.  

When you are creating a template, you should also consider the thickness of the parts to be laser engraved using the template. Templates intended to be used to process thin objects such as aluminum tags, should be made of flat material so that you can quickly and easily remove the parts after they are procesed. For thicker items such as pens, make sure that the material used for the tempalte is also thicker so that the workpieces stay in place in the template.

Designing the layout of the template

Check your numbers

It's a good idea to develop your template based on the regular order volumes that you have to fulfill. If you laser engrave small quantities at regular intervals, then create a template to accommodate these quantities. If you need to process large volumes, you can adjust the template to the work area of your Trotec laser engraver.

A good trick when you are laser engraving large order volumes, is to apply the template in duplicate and with a base. You can save time by placing the first template in the laser machine and engraving it while you are reloading the second template outside.

The base should be made of solid material. A solid, sturdy base makes it easier and more efficient to move loaded templates from the work table into your Trotec laser engraver. Make sure the base and template are glued properly one above the other to make it sturdier.

Make sure the contours in your template match those in your workpiece

Transferring the contours from your workpiece into your template file is a key factor in creating your template.  Here are a few different ways to do it:


You can measure the shape and trace it in your graphics program if the outline of your workpiece is a simple, geometric shape.

Scan workpiece

It's a good idea to scan the workpiece if it consists of complex angles and radii. Then you can import the scanned file into your graphics program and simply trace the contours.

Trace and scan

You can transfer the contours of your workpiece on paper using a pen and then scan it. This is a good option if your workpiece is too bulky for your scanner. When you import the scanned image into your graphics program, we recommend that you trace the contours yourself instead of using flash-vectorization, because a large number of unnecessary nodes are embedded in the contour during the automatic conversion. 

What to consider when determining contours

Always think ahead when you are determining the contours of your workpieces. For example, be sure to scan or align the shapes in a way that future engravings can run straight and don't have to be rotated. This makes it easier to align graphics and text fields on your workpiece.

It's a good idea to mark special points in your workpiece (such as holes for bead chains) so that you don't accidentally position your engravings in these areas later.

Once you determine the shape, try cutting out the contour and insert your workpiece. Then you can correct the positions if necessary. Try using multiple workpieces when you are testing, since there could be production-related differences in each piece.


It is very helpful to add an additional cut-out in the shape of a semicircle. This makes it easier to remove the finished engraved parts.

Which lens do I use for creating templates?

In order to keep the cutting gap as small as possible, use the smallest possible lens (1.5" or 2").

Template tips

  • Engrave the name of the corresponding graphics file on each template. This makes it quick and easy to find the right work file, especially if you use several different templates.
  • Mark the corner of the unit in the zero point on the template so that you can quickly and easily insert it.
  • If your template is smaller, try lasering holes in it and filing it in a folder. This will help you keep your templates safe and easy to locate.
  • Always send the entire graphic (including the outer contour of the template) when you send jobs to the laser engraver. Before engraving your workpieces, set the color "red" to "positioning" in the parameters in the material database. This makes it easy for you to check whether the template is properly positioned in the machine.
  •  Read our tips and tricks for positioning aids for help quickly and reliably determining your desired position for laser processing