Today I will give you an exciting tiny tutorial on how to correctly use the Zing Epilog 16 Laser with Adobe Illustrator. It might fit for other Lasers as well.
So you are new to the laser business? And you have no clue on how to use your brand new (Insert brand here) laser for vector cutting with Adobe Illustrator? Then you are on the right place.
As I was new 2 years ago, I struggled with lasering from Illustrator. When I sent vector jobs to the laser, it simply beeped and nothing happened. I spent hours with this problem. At that point I thought that it might be a good idea to consult the manual (that book which came with the laser, which you just threw away with the package). After some research I found the interesting section on page 66. (you can always download the manuals here.)
here's an interesting table:
Which in other word means, that the mode in which the laser operates, depends on the vector line thickness. "Why do they do that?", you might ask, since the laser cannot change it's diameter without defocusing.
The reason is simple, most lasers offer the so called combined mode, which allows it to first engrave text for example and then cut out the piece.
Consider this front panel for an eurorack MIDI module which contains text and holes to be cut as well:
The Illustrator file looks like so
In order to convince Illustrator to vector cut the lines, I simply set the line with to 0,1pt in the properties panel (In german it is called "Kontur"):
The best thing is, you can cut and engrave now in the same job. Everything with a thickness larger than 0.1pt gets engraved and all other elements will be cut.
The according settings of the Epilog laser for 4mm plywood:
Take in concern that most CO2 machines from epilog have a few Watts more than labeled. My 40 Watt Machine has a measured power of 51 Watts.
You might adjust your settings to match your machine.
I hope this quick tip is helpful to anyone.
Happy laser and have a nice day!