Techniques for paper finishing with laser engraving and cutting machines

Paper is a very exciting material for laser processing. It is extremely versatile and can be laser cut and laser engraved well for many different projects. Below is an example using a paper movie voucher. You can find the parameters used by us in the table below.

We have used the paper "Aqua Silver" from the series Gmund 925 with a grammage of 290 g/m².


Deep engraving

For deep engraving, you will need relatively more power output during engraving. Assign the first engraving color for this, in our case black.

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


Light engraving

For an elegant effect, you can bleach out the uppermost layer or the surface of some types of paper. Bleaching out involves engraving in a way so that little or no material is removed.

Assign the next color for the surfaces you want to create. We used red for our project. For the engraving parameters, use lower power and a faster speed than you would normally use for engraving on paper.


Scratching

The scratching technique can be used for filigree and very fine markings.

For this, assign a hairline using a different color (we used blue) as a contour to the object. In the parameter settings, select cutting as process and use a lower power output compared to the customary paper cut.


Engraving line

The engraving line technique is similar to scratching, but with a different thickness. This is defined by the parameter setting.

Assign a hairline to the object again. (We used desert blue.) In the parameter settings, choose a Z-offset of about 2-5 mm for the cutting process, depending on the desired thickness of the line. The power output should be similar to the scratching line.


Perforation

Parts of the card can also be separated with a perforation, which is a discontinuous cutting line.

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


Filigree cut

You can also cut in particular filigree writing, figure or ornament with the laser by drawing an arbitrary form with a hairline as contour for this (we used cyan for this).

For you parameter settings, use a lower speed and power output than with the outer cut.


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.


Printing adjustments

Send the job to the laser with the following settings. Make sure to use color when screening so that all objects are processed.

We used a Speedy 360 with 80 Watt and a 1.5" lens.

Print settings

Process type Resolution Cutting line
Standard 500dpi none

Screening

Others
Color Optimized geometries, internal geometries first

Laser parameter settings

Next assign your parameter settings. The parameters will deviate depending on the paper you use, as well as your laser and the available laser power output.

Tip: Try using a different paper. You can test the settings on a small area which is not needed later. 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 - -

Inspirations

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.


Further information

Need more help?

Contact the Trotec service hotline where top qualified and motivated laser experts will assist you with any questions or problems.

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