If you plan on sending us artwork, photographs, drawings, or production files. here is a general synopsis of what is required to complete your project without problems.
Please do Not Send us .doc files.
We can't reliably import them for anything.


The best artwork for engraving is created using  vector artwork software such as:
Corel Draw, or Adobe Illustrator.
This software is usually expensive, and has a steep learning curve..
Here is a good FREE one you can learn on, but it also has a steep learning curve.
http://inkscape.org/

Lasering a photograph into wood, glass, plastic, & most other opaque mediums
Choosing your photograph is the most important step. Not all photographs can be laser etched, or engraved. Photographs that are to be etched with a laser, require 'contrast'. In other words, once converted to black and white (the laser does not etch in colour) there must be 'visible' difference between colours. Dark coloured clothing, seen against a dark coloured background may be perfectly obvious in a colour photograph, but once converted, the black and white (black etches, white does not) the difference will not be so obvious. A dark blue suit against a dark brown background, 'may' result in a 'head' floating in a dark background.  For example see the samples below
Coloured Square  <Before converting  Engraved Colours< After Engraving
As you can see, there is not much difference between the colours after etching.
Your photograph must also be 'high resolution'. We can scan a 'glossy' photograph, however, photographs printed on textured stock, no matter how fine the texture, may not give satisfactory results. The textured areas have a tendency to cast light back at the scanner, resulting in spots, fuzziness, or banding when etched. Digital photographs are acceptable providing the photograph, or the portion of the photograph that is to be used is at least  2000 x 1500 pixels (for a 5 x 7" or smaller  picture or 2400 x 3000 for a 8x10") or the highest resolution obtainable from a minimum 5 mega pixel camera. .JPGs 'can' be used, but please keep in mind that EVERY TIME you crop, manipulate, or change a .jpg AND save it as a .jpg it will get worse and worse with every load and re-save, until it gets to the point, where is pretty well unusable for anything but the web.. As a final step, we will evaluate your photograph as to suitability for engraving before we use it.

Etching Basic Text, & Line Art
Logos or Graphics Into Most Mediums
Text and Line Art engraves into most solid or organic mediums, by vaporizing the material, and in most cases, darkening it in the process. Text for any project, should be sent as a uncompressed, All curves vector file, or a Windows Notepad .txt file (Graphics embedded in .doc files of any kind can not be used) or, simply type the text required into a email and send it to us. If you would like a particular style of font, you can attach a windows font file (.ttf) to your message, and we can use your font. If you send us a picture of your text, we can usually match the font pretty closely from the thousand or so we have on hand. The font chosen, should NOT be one of those wispy fancy scripts, they rarely reproduce with satisfactory results.  We will evaluate your font, and let you know how it will etch or engrave, before we use it.
LINE ART : Line art is a true 2 bit black and white
(binary) file. it is NOT a  8 bit greyscale, or a 24 bit .jpg. True black and white files, have no shade transitions, are made up totally of black pixels, and white spaces, and should be sent to us in a vector format(.eps, .cdr,.ai) or a .tif  file at a minimum resolution of 300 ppi (pixels per inch). If you are not sure of the resolution, it should print well on your printer (remain clear and not fuzzy), at a size 4 times larger than you want it to be etched or engraved.
PLEASE NOTE!!
Because Adobe Illustrator compresses all files by default:
If you are sending us an .ai file
PLEASE make sure
file compression has been TURNED OFF
, before you save it,
and all text has been
converted to curves.


Etching Photos, Logos, and Text into Shotglasses, WineGlasses, Mugs, Bottles,
 or Standard Glass

The area of a shot glass is quite small, and portrait oriented (etched area is higher than wide) the etching area of a standard shotglass is 1" wide, x 1.75 inches high, so many text groups must be broken down into several lines. The longer the line, the smaller the text becomes. The minimum size for etching is usually about 9 point using helvetica, or aerial fonts. Fonts which have a LARGE capital letter, and much smaller lower case letters (most scripts) must be etched at a minimum of 18 point  to even be readable. The font chosen, should NOT be one of those wispy fancy scripts, they rarely reproduce into glass with satisfactory results. Logos are almost always black and white line art (no shading) if your logo has shade transitions then it may have to be treated as a photograph, and extra charges will apply. If you send us artwork or layouts for your shotglasses, please print them out on your printer at a size of 1 inch wide, and a max. height of 1.75" and see what it looks like before  you send it to us. If it does not look clear on your printer, it will look even worse in glass.. Bottles, Mugs, Wineglasses, can usually be directly etched up to 60% of their diameter (i.e. a 3" bottle can be etched with a 1.8" wide logo +- ). Artwork other than for size, requires the same file specifications for bottles, mugs, wineglasses or standard flat glass.  Do not send us low resolution web art, it's almost never usable. If you do not have access to vector files in .ai or .cdr format, and must send a bit image file (.tiff .bmp etc) Your 'logo' artwork should be sent to us in a minimum resolution of 300 ppi (pixels per inch) at a minimum size of 4 times the etching size required (4" wide for shot glasses), in a 2 bit (binary) black and white file, preferably uncompressed .tif format.  Please do not send .doc files( we can not import usable graphics from them), and try to avoid .jpegs (.jpgs rarely give good results).  If your layout contains text, in a special font style, or in a font that we might not have, please either send vector artwork, (all curves, or 'outlines' for you MAC folks) or attach the .ttf font file from your windows font directory and we can use your font.
If you are sending us an .ai file PLEASE make sure
file compression has been turned off
, before you save it,
and all text has been
converted to curves.

A *good contrast  photograph can be processed, and etched into your shot glasses. Please keep in mind, the Etching area of a shot glass, is small.  'Only' about 1" wide x 1.5" high So your picture 'will' only be 1" wide. Obviously, 'group' photos are going to be impossible. Photos MUST be high resolution (at least 1500 x 2000 ppi), with a obvious central subject. The background around the central subject will be removed. Photos must also be portrait oriented  (Higher than Wide). We will evaluate your photo for etch ability. Not all photos or photo & text combinations will work, .jpg's that have been edited or cropped will usually suffer from re-compression artifacts every time they are re-saved as a .jpg ..If you have to edit or crop one, save it as a .tif and send us that..
*Once your photo has been converted to a gray scale,
Good contrast means the 'difference' between shades of black and white. The more difference, the more contrast, and the better your picture will etch

Etching a Photograph On Glass
Lasered Glass does not 'engrave' with depth, but rather the laser frosts the area where 'white' in the photograph occurs. That's right, 'white' not black, because we must not only convert your photo into a black and white file, we must also convert it to a negative image(we look after that here, because it must also be processed through special software), and in most cases the background will be removed leaving only the central, or important portion of the image. The areas of the original photo that are dark, will remain relatively clear, and the areas that were lighter will frost. This means, glass etchings should be displayed against a dark background for the best effect. Photos on glass are usually etched from the 'back' side of the glass, so they must also be reversed before etching (beer mugs and shot glasses are etched from the front, so we don't have to reverse the photo).  Here's the process (below),  You can also see the 'floating head syndrome' of the dark suit against a dark background.. 'Sometimes' you can get away with it. The minimum size that 'some' photos will engrave into glass, and remain recognizable, is about 1" x 1". Glass is not a high definition material, and not all photos are suitable for etching into glass, particularly small ones. Once we see your photo, we will be able to tell you if it will reproduce or not. The photo should be submitted in either a minimum 5x7" 'glossy' print, or a digital image that is at least 2000 x 1500 pixels (for a 5 x 7" or smaller  picture or 2400 x 3000 for a 8x10"). In most cases we must remove the background, and this will give us a comfortable size to accurately work on.
Negative and 'Reversed'Final Plate


Etching a Photograph onto Black Granite
Your photo must be much the same as required for etching glass, the image must be etched as a negative (we look after that here, because it must also be processed through special software) Once converted, the black portions will etch, and the white portions will be ignored. The result is the image will look natural  on the black stone. Usually the background is removed by us, and/or the photo is shaped to a vignette with faded edges..


Engraving items that must also be cut by the laser.
Please Note: Our Laser will cut wood, and many plastics, (up to 1/4" thick)
however, it will NOT cut or engrave metal of any kind 
For this process, we MUST have Black On White, vector based artwork, no larger than 12" x 24". We can accept files in Corel Draw  (.cdr version 14 or less preferred file format), or Adobe Illustrator (.ai version CS3 or less.) and sometimes, we can use your CAD file. CAD files can be pretty foreign to a laser, so if you send us one we will evaluate it for use before we accept it. (try sending us a .pdf file, if it's vector, we can import it)  In any case,  All Objects and text Must Be Converted To Curves, paths, or outlines in your file, and the file MUST be uncompressed.   If you don't know what this means, it's not likely you have the software to do it, and we will create your artwork or cutting files for you. (artwork charges of $80.00 per hour will apply). If you can supply vector files, the two most important things to remember, are lines thicker than .007 will engrave. Lines thinner than that 'may' cut instead. So, if you send us text with a .005 outline you can be pretty sure the laser will engrave your text correctly, THEN cut it out.. Unless you are looking for text that is engraved, and cut it's not likely this is what you were expecting. It's best to clearly define what you want, by making everything you want to cut, formed or outlined with .001 hairlines and everything else that has a outline, shape, or just lines, should be made up of lines no thinner than .010 .. For example, engraving an electrical panel with text, and holes for switches, gauges, etc., the file we must receive will have ALL text and non cutting lines (non cutting lines MUST be .010 or more) defined as black (Black= RGB 0,0,0), and converted to curves, and all switch holes, notches, and panel openings, will be defined by black hairlines (Black= RGB 0,0,0) in the file. The Laser raster engraves all text, logos, and other markings first, then cuts all required holes from the inside out, so the sections closest to the centre of the panel will be cut first, the all other hairline defined objects will be processed and cut from there, to the outside of the full object of the file in the order they were created. Objects in your file must be sent to us in the final size required. We will not up, or down scale your artwork, and the tolerances between cuts and engraving should be at least .046. The laser will cut or engrave 'everything' it sees. If your artwork has outlines, centerlines, dimension lines, diameter markings, notes, etc., remove them before sending us your file unless you want them to show or cut, and become part of the final engraving..

If you are sending us an .ai file PLEASE make sure
file compression has been turned off
, before you save it,
and all text has been
converted to curves.


Don't have a Vector Artwork Program?
Here's a great FREE one
But like all vector based graphics software it also has a steep learning curve
IMPORTANT: If you're going to be using this, save your files in the .pdf format
NOT the default .svg (it allows you to choose on save)
http://inkscape.org/





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Sales@LaserCraft.ca

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