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344 Ferntree Gully Rd
Notting Hill
Victoria 3168
Tel: 03 9543 3000
Fax: 03 9543 3100

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Laser Cutting tips. Laser cut tips and tricks.
SIGNS: SignsSelecting Grain when Laser CuttingPath Direction
Cutting Acrylic  ►Materials for Laser Cutting  ►Technical Help
Lift and DropHow laser cutting works

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Of Interest
Printing BIG images

How to use CorelDraw

How to use Photoshop

Using a Scanner
Scanning Tips
How to resample
Scanning Images

Laser Cutting Tips
Tips Cutting Acrylic
Know what Acrylic to buy
Selecting Grain when laser cutting signage materials
Path Direction
Technical Help
Materials suited to laser cut
Lift and Drop
Blast Points

Outlining Letters
Minimum spaces between letters
Add or subtract lines
How laser cutting works


Using special outlines or in-lines to master the control used by laser cutting equipment. Also known as Contour, we set up laser cutting files specifically to the graphic design.
Laser cutting of metal, acrylic and aluminium and laser cut speciality products used for signs displays exhibitions and company logo signs.

Click to go to our New Online Sign Pricing Estimator, Faster, easier and more sign products.

How to make files ready for laser cutting
Outlining Objects and Letters (fonts)

  For more tips and tutorials go to

When Laser cutting for fine tolerances, you may need to add or subtract an additional cut line.

When we make signs for receptions or building signs, occasionally we need to add or subtract from the main logo sizing a small .8 millimetre or 1.2 mm contour line for cut allowance or allowing the laser cutting machine to give us room to move between using a combination of materials.

To add or subtract a cut line used in laser cutting, we use Corel draw function "Contour".

Outlining Object using the Contour Tool

Use the Contour Tool found in Corel Draw to design a 'key line' around your text and objects RATHER THAN using an outline.  If you draw using an outlined object using the outline tool, indeed the image will appear OK on screen, but will be registered as a hairline when outputting to any machinery orientated equipment such as a sign plotter system, laser cutter or industrial cutter.

  • Other benefits of drawing in contour formats are:
  • When enlarging images, your outline (drawn as a contour) will be fully scalable when you  move objects up and down.
  • Files are better welded and trimmed to other objects.

  • Sign Lines and output plotter lines are simplified. Note that if you are contouring lines around curves, occasionally there may be an excess of nodes, to remove or reduce the quantity of nodes, use the node control slide bar, found in the top title tool bar above your images.
  • When your contour lines and curves using Corel Draw, complete one contour at a time, Corel Draw capabilities include more than one contour line however we have found occasional differences in thickness, and for a sign maker occasionally this is critical considering when we use a multiple of machinery techniques such as laser cutting.


    Outlining Letters using the Contour Tool

    When you outline letters using the Contour Tool, a tip is to first convert the letters (font) to curves, then weld any cross or overlapping text serif or any logo cross sections to form one object in a clear and concise outline that is recognised as one form for your drawing. In this manner, applying a contour around your text is better controlled and importantly, you can then introduce other text shaping elements that are performed in Corel Draw.

    TIP: Convert to Curves, then weld any serif (little feet) of your texts before contouring or outlining or using the combine tool in Corel Draw.

    • Use Corel draw contour tool for 'key lines'.
    • Use the Contour Tool for creating a weld line.
    • Use the Contour Tool for creating a key line that can be used for traditional split or drop shadows using solid colours. Traditional signwriting shadows and modern cut under text effects.
    • Contour lines and treatments for overlaying graphics onto Photoshop files for later use of Gaussian Blur treatments, text animations etc.
    • Clever use of the Contour Tool will give you fantastic results.
    • Use the Contour tool for dynamic guide replacements. Type in a measurement that you want free space or 'within' space treatments and use the Contour tool to give you visual treatments.
    • We also use the contour tool to clean up Adobe Illustrator documents and graphic files.

    Vector: Vector equals lines, curves and combined shapes that are scalable and smooth regardless of size. Drawing in Vector has many advantages including being suitable for:
    1. Signage Reproduction
    2. Screenprinting
    3. Engraving
    4. Laser Cutting
    5. Digital Printing

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    Laser cutting requires specific technical knowledge and set up of your files. If you need a special section or letter, logo or graphic designs that will be laser cut, please call us. We offer one to one assistance to help you achieve better laser cutting results.



    Our team of sign makers are experienced in making vinyl signs, laser cutting, sign printing, banner printing and lots more. You can also find more ezine articles at our existing site