Customer Support

Laser Cutting Illustrator File Prep Help

Foldfactory.com offers high-speed variable laser cutting on all of our print offerings, which means you can add simple or complex shapes to our die lines and templates to create truly unique and exciting print. Layer shapes on overlapping panels for a dimensional look, cut a window on the cover, even cut out a different name on every piece. We can do it, so knock yourself out.  

We also use the laser cutter to produce a delicate laser score for our “Comp Mode” offering. Although not a “real” die score, for comps, the laser score increases our production speed so that you can order professional one-off mock-ups at a relatively low cost.

Stocks available for digital laser cutting:

  • Sappi Opux DX Dull
  • Premium Gloss
  • Premium Matte
  • Semigloss Card
  • Uncoated Smooth
  • Uncoated Natural
  • Coated Matte - White
  • Eco - Friendly 30% Recycled Coated
  • Feltweave
  • Linen
    • Metallics
    • Silver Foil
    • Kraft - Brown Speckletone
    • Uncoated Apple Red
    • Uncoated Navy Blue
    • Uncoated Black
    • Crack 'n Peel Sticker
    • Clear Vinyl Decal / Sticker – Permanent only

To set up your file for laser die cutting using Adobe Illustrator, please follow these steps.

  1. Create a new layer for the laser cut portions of the design. Name the layer “Laser Cut” and arrange it as the top-most layer.
  2. Open your color palette by clicking “Window,” then “Color,” then “Swatches.” The Swatch Palette will appear.
  3. Click in the upper right corner of the Swatch Palette and select “New Color Swatch.”
  4. Name the swatch to match the correct line type according to the guide and glossary below (e.g. Dieline, Perf, etc. ).
  5. Use the Color Type drop-down menu to select “Spot.”
  6. Change the Color Mode to “RGB” and adjust the color values to match the correct line type as listed in the Glossary and RGB guide listed below.

Digital laser cutting rbg guide.jpg

  1. You may need to repeat steps 2 through 6 for additional types of lines in your file, such as adding a perf in addition to a dieline, etc.
  2. On the Laser Cut layer define the outline of the shapes that will be cut out, perfed or etched with a .25 pt. stroke weight. All lines should be solid not dashed, including perforations. Also, be sure to use the appropriate corresponding spot color referenced in the guide above.
  3. Leave at least 2 mm between lines and be careful to create a design that has connecting or holding points to keep the design intact when pieces are removed. Clipping masks can be included in your printed artwork, but laser cut lines should not include clipping masks.
  4. In the PDF saving options box and under the “Output” setting, locate the drop-down box labeled “Profile Inclusion Policy.” Choose “Don’t Include Profiles,” then click “Save PDF.”

Your Adobe Illustrator file design file with laser die cutting should be ready for submission. Please note, if you have chosen die cutting and also have multiple versions, there may be an additional charge for file and machine setup.

Glossary:

  • Dieline – The line that will be cut through the material (e.g. a contoured outside edge or a cutout shape inside the piece, such as a circle or heart)
  • Kiss-Cut – A line that is only partially cut through the sheet to allow for easy removal of the backing of a sheet of peel-off stickers
  • Perf (Perforation) – Tiny holes poked in a line that allows for a piece of paper to be neatly torn into multiple pieces
  • Etch – A line or outline where ink will be removed from the surface of a printed material and the laser will create a depression that will keep the paper intact, as opposed to a cut
  • Crease* – A line along which a print piece will be scored for folding
  • Variable – Text or numbers provided in a data file to be used for variable finishing, such as cutting out names for an invitation

Resources:

*Crease lines over printed areas have a layer of ink removed, thus are not recommended

 

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