American University of Beirut

How To Prepare Your Laser File

​About The Laser Cutters

Two laser cutter Universal Laser Systems 900 x 600 mm and 600 x 300 mm are approximately 0.001 centered on the drawn line.

This will cause the parts that are cut to be slightly smaller than what is drawn. This fact is normally insignificant, but if it is critical to your work, please make a note of it.

The rule of thumb for spacing between discrete parts is to allow at least half of the thickness of the material between relatively parallel cuts, particularly on acrylics.

AutoCAD Guidelines for Laser Cutting

  • All parts to be cut in AutoCAD must be drawn in the green layer.
  • All parts to be light cut in AutoCAD must be drawn in the black layer.
  • All parts to be engraved in AutoCAD must be drawn in the red layer.


Adobe Illustrator Guidelines for Laser Cutting

Document Preparation:

  • In Illustrator –> select File –> New.
  • Set “Width" to 900 mm and “Height" to 600 mm.
  • Set orientation to “Landscape" and “Color Mode" to RGB.
  • All parts to be cut in Illustrator must be drawn in the green layer (RGB 0,255,0).
  • All parts to be light cut in Illustrator must be drawn in the black layer (RGB 0,0,0).
  • All parts to be engraved in Illustrator must be drawn in the red layer (RGB 255,0,0).
  • Drawings should be 0.01 point stroke weight.


  • Draw everything in AutoCAD or Adobe Illustrator. 
  • Files drawn in other programs that are then imported or pasted into AutoCAD or Adobe Illustrator will cause problems.
  • Use only the standard “index" colors: red, black and green.
  • For smoother cuts, all continuous line segments should be joined using the PEDIT/JOIN command in AutoCAD.
  • All line widths should remain at “0.00" thickness or “0.01" stroke with line-type continuous.
  • Line Thickness settings for all layers are accessible in the “Layer Properties Manager" window.
  • If you want scored lines to be thicker, do multiple .004 offsets. If this is unacceptable, the laser system is capable of engraving virtually any thickness line. However, this involves raster engraving rather than vector scoring and requires considerably more time.


Before Your Appointment

  • Erase all stray lines.
  • Remove all overlapping and duplicate lines. The laser will double cut overlapping lines with very negative results. 
  • Use the OVERKILL command in AutoCAD. 
  • In AutoCAD, it is possible to have multiple cut templates in a single file. Please ensure that any file you bring strictly follows the Laser Cutting Template format (pieces to be cut are put in a rectangle 900 x 600 mm or 600 x 300 mm), is well organized and is ready to cut.
  • Delete all unnecessary information from your file.


Laser Suitable Materials

Cutting and Etching

All materials cut exponentially slower as thickness increases.

  • Acrylic
  • Wood (Consult lab supervisor for species-specific thicknesses.)
  • Paper, Mylar, Velum
  • Leather
  • Matte Board
  • MDF (3mm small quantities thick only)
  • Cork
  • Chipboard
  • Corrugated Cardboard

Etching Only

  • Glass
  • Stone
  • Anodized Metals

Banned Materials

  • Rubber (All Forms)
  • Casting Resins
  • Polypropylene
  • Polycarbonate
  • Any material in the chloride/chlorine family (ex. PVC-polyvinylchloride)
  • Felt
  • FoamCore
  • Polystyrene



Reference to: and​​​

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