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Vector Cutting Tips

During vector cutting, as compared to laser engraving, the power is increased and speed decreased considerably. The suggested settings at the bottom of this page will again vary due to the individual "identity" of each laser engraving machine as well as the type of cutting, and thickness of material being used The thicker the material, the slower the cutting and more need for adjustments to keep smoke residue and melting to a minimum. The LASERTHINS and GOLD COAST .030 series by IPI are ideal for vector cutting faster and cleaner than any other laser engraving plastics.

Always remove the pre-applied protective masking before vector cutting or engraving. The masking may melt and trap smoke or adhesive residue under the masking.

For best results when vector cutting, always elevate the plastic 1/8" to 1/4" off the laser table to allow your exhaust system to properly pull smoke from underneath the plastic. Focus before starting each new sheet of plastic.

IPI laser materials were developed to allow for vector cutting without protective transfer tape (vinyl lettering type tape), especially the .030 gauge. However, again due to the individual "identity" of your machine, the different color pigments, the type and amount of vector cutting per sheet, and the thickness of the plastic particularly 1/8" or thicker), the use of transfer tape may be necessary to keep smoke residue off your sheets. On 1/8" or thicker material you may even want to try two passes at faster speeds, instead of transfer tape.

If transfer tape is used when vector cutting, apply it to both sides of the plastic and lightly spray the tape with water before cutting.

Rating the flexibility of vector cutting without transfer tape within the IPI line of laser materials, it is LASERTHINS, GOLD COAST, LASERABLES and LASERABLES II, in order of ideal application.

Finally, the LASER SHOP is a tool to get you started on the right track when lasering plastics. Laser engraving and cutting is on the horizon of a new age of creativity in design, graphics, detail and ideas. It is not an exact science; but, through experimentation, imagination and the continued development of laser engraving materials by Innovative Plastics, your journey should be very exciting.

All IPI Laser Engraving Materials can also be rotary engraved beautifully.

All IPI Laser Engraving Materials by IPI were developed to be laser engraved or laser cut with only one pass when used with the proper settings of power, speed, dots per inch, and pulses per inch. Please keep in mind that no two laser machines are identical due to such variables as power surges, cleaning, maintenance, the optics focus, settings, and exhaust system.

Suggested Settings - Standard Settings (Standard resolution lens; 25 watt CO2 laser)

  Gauge Power Speed Dots/Inch Pulses/Inch
Laser Engraver All 25 - 35% 80 - 100% 500 - 600 500 [0]
Laser Cutting .060, .050 60 - 70% 2.5 - 3.5 [20 - 30%] 500 - 600 250 [2]
  .030 40 - 50% 3.5 - 4.5 [20 - 30%] 500 - 600 250 [2]

[ ] ; Terminology for settings may differ between laser manufacturers.

On new, faster laser machines, the speed setting for laser engraving must be reduced to 70-80%.

975 Nimco Drive, Unit V / Crystal Lake, IL 60014 / Phone: 1.815.477.0778 / Fax: 1.815.477.1210