Different file types are used in laser cutting, including vector files (SVG, CDR, AI), raster files (BMP, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PNG), CAD files (DWG, DXF), and compound files (PDF, EPS). These file types serve different purposes and are suitable for various aspects of laser cutting, such as cutting, engraving, and complex 2D or 3D designs.
It’s important to choose the appropriate file type based on the specific requirements of your laser-cutting project. Vector files are typically used for precise cutting and engraving, while raster files are more suitable for laser etching. CAD and 3D files are utilized to create complex designs and models. Compound files allow for the storage of both vector and raster elements.
For laser cutting, the most commonly used file types are vector-based files. These file formats define geometric shapes, lines, and curves using mathematical equations, allowing them to be scaled to any size without loss of quality. Vector files are ideal for laser cutting because they provide precise control over the cutting paths.
The following are the main file formats used for laser cutting:
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
SVG is a widely supported vector file format that is commonly used in laser cutting. It is an XML-based format that describes 2D vector graphics. SVG files can be created and edited using software such as Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, or CorelDRAW.
DXF (Drawing Exchange Format)
DXF is a file format developed by Autodesk and is widely used in CAD software. It is a popular choice for laser-cutting applications. DXF files can store 2D or 3D vector-based data and can be exported from various design software, including AutoCAD and Fusion 360.
AI (Adobe Illustrator)
AI is the native file format of Adobe Illustrator, a popular vector graphics editor. AI files can contain vector-based artwork, including shapes, paths, and curves. Many laser-cutting machines and software are compatible with AI files.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
PDF is a widely used file format that can contain both vector and raster elements. While laser cutting primarily relies on vector data, PDF files can include vector-based artwork that can be used for laser-cutting purposes. However, it’s important to ensure that the PDF contains actual vector graphics rather than raster images.
It’s worth noting that some laser-cutting machines or software may support additional file formats or have proprietary formats specific to the machine. Therefore, it’s always best to consult the documentation or the manufacturer of your laser cutting machine to determine the recommended file formats for optimal compatibility.