The laser studio is based in our Manchester shop and run by studio technician Stuart and headed by Paul. Get your designs expertly cut on our TROTEC Speedy 400, ideal for making your jewellery, signage, architectural models and much more using our extensive range of laser grade materials. Looking for some inspiration? Visit our regularly updated laser gallery where you can find examples of both our customer and in-house work.

What stage are you at?

To get a quote for your job we require a laser ready file, our minimum spend is £12.

Select an option below that best describes your situation.

  • I HAVE A LASER READY FILE Checklist & File Upload
  • I WANT TO MAKE MY OWN FILE Templates & Tutorials
  • I WANT FREDS TO MAKE MY FILE File Creation & Bespoke Projects
  • Provide your file as either .Ai / .2004dxf / .cdr / .svg
  • Check your document is an RGB file
  • Check your outer cut lines are green RGB 0.255.0 / 0.001pt
  • Check your inner cut lines are blue RGB 0.0.255 / 0.001pt
  • Check your vector score lines are red RGB 255.0.0 / 0.001pt
  • Check your engraves are above 1pt or fills of black (no transparencies)
  • Check your photos for engraving are greyscale @300dpi
  • Knock 10mm off the length and width of your artboard
  • Leave a 5mm area around your elements when tiling them up on your artboard for cutting
  • For best results when making a file for cutting, keep the elements of your design as thick or thicker than the material’s thickness
  • Select a laser grade material
  • Name your file using this convention: Customername_Thickness_Material_Size e.g. PaulWalker_3mm_PLYWOOD_A1

File Upload

  • Once you have all this information ready, send it over to us for a quote studio@fredaldous.net
  • We endeavor to provide an estimate the same day for files that are sent before 1 pm and are formatted correctly. Once your estimate is approved we usually complete your job within 48 hrs depending on size and complexity.

What happens next?

We will let you know that we have received your file. If your file is ready to cut we aim to provide you a quote within 24 hours.

If you are new to design sofware...

Choose one of the programs below for downloadable templates & file creation guides.

  • ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR
  • AUTOCAD
  • COREL DRAW

Illustrator Templates and Tutorials

Click on a downloadable template below that best suits the size for your project. You will find a guide on how to build your file included outside the artboard of the template file in it’s own layer.

Building a file from scratch...

Creating a new document

· Go to File > New

· Set page dimensions to the size of the material sheet in mm

· Allow 10mm from the border of the material

· Select RGB as your colour mode

Drawing your design

There are several ways of creating vector paths in your document. Aside from the basic shape tools we recommend drawing your file with the pen tool. This gives you freedom to create straight lines and curves, and lets you create closed path shapes which are essential in getting the best results for your file.



Using Image Trace

If you have an existing image that is not a vector, our first recommendation is to trace around the shape with the pen tool. Alternatively you can also select ‘Image Trace > Expand’ which will leave you with a vector version of your file that you will need to edit and recolour. Be careful with this method as it tends to create ‘double-lines’ and may not work well with detailed images.

Outer Cut

RGB 0.255.0

Stroke weight 0.001pt

Inner Cut

RGB 0.0.255

Stroke weight 0.001pt

Vector Score

RGB 255.0.0

Stroke weight 0.001pt

Engrave

Fills of RGB black

(no transparencies)

Rasterised photos and images should be saved at 300dpi

Outline your fonts

All text in your laser file must be outlined to create paths. Select all your text - Type > Create Outlines

Release all Live Paint groups

The Live Paint function cannot be used to create a Laser file. All Live Paint groups must be released.

Object > Live Paint > Release

Release all Clipping Masks

All Clipping Masks must be released as the Laser cutting software will try and read all information hidden in the Mask.

Object > Clipping Mask > Release

Example of a file and cut

File

Outer cut green RGB 0.255.0 / 0.001pt

Inner cut blue RGB 0.0.255 / 0.001pt

Vector score red RGB 255.0.0 / 0.001pt

Engraves: Vector shapes in fills of RGB black

Plywood

This plywood example has been cut with a protective layer of masking tape to reduce burn marks. Please ask for more details.

Acrylic

This example is cut in clear cast acrylic

Tiling your elements

· Knock 10mm off the length and width of your artboard

· Leave 5mm areas between your elements when tiling them

Saving your file

Save your file as an Illustrator file in any legacy using the following convention -

Customername_Thickness_Material_Size.ai

For example:

PaulWalker_3mm_PLYWOOD_A1.ai

AutoCad templates and tutorials coming soon!

Although we can cut .2004dxf files we are not experts in AutoCad software, we convert .2004dxf files in Illustrator in order to send them to our laser software.

Templates coming soon

Corel Draw templates and tutorials

Although we can cut .cdr files we are not experts in Corel Draw software, we do own a copy of Corel Draw but we convert .cdr files in Illustrator in order to send them to our Laser software.

Templates coming soon

Building a file from scratch...

Creating a new document

· Select File > New > Create a new document

· Set Measurements to mm

· Set page dimensions to the size of the material sheet in mm

· Allow 10mm from the border of the material

· Set Primary colour mode to RGB

· Make your design at actual scale. 1 unit = 1mm

Outer Cut

Green: RGB: 0.255.0

Line width: to 0.001mm or ‘Hairline’

Inner Cut

Blue: RGB: 0.0.255

Line width: to 0.001mm or ‘Hairline’

Vector Score

Red: RGB: 255.0.0

Line width: to 0.001mm or ‘Hairline’

Engrave

Black: RGB: 0.0.0

While we can raster engrave thin vector strokes, we recommend you vector score them for better results. Strokes at 0.4pt or less will not show well using engrave.

Rasterised images must be greyscale at 300dpi.

Converting text to curves

All text used needs to be Outlined / Converted to curves to create paths.

Select your text - Arrange > Convert to curves

Example of a file and cut

File

Outer cut green RGB 0.255.0 / 0.001pt

Inner cut blue RGB 0.0.255 / 0.001pt

Vector score red RGB 255.0.0 / 0.001pt

Engraves: Vector shapes in fills of RGB black

Plywood

This plywood example has been cut with a protective layer of masking tape to reduce burn marks. Please ask for more details.

Acrylic

This example is cut in clear cast acrylic

Tiling your elements

· Knock 10mm off the length and width of your artboard

· Leave 5mm areas between your elements when tiling them



Saving your file

Save your file as an Illustrator file in any legacy using the following convention -

Customername_Thickness_Material_Size.ai

For example:

PaulWalker_3mm_PLYWOOD_A1.ai



If you are familiar with design software...

  • Provide your file as either .Ai / .2004dxf / .cdr / .svg
  • Check your document is an RGB file
  • Check your outer cut lines are green RGB 0.255.0 / 0.001pt
  • Check your inner cut lines are blue RGB 0.0.255 / 0.001pt
  • Check your vector score lines are red RGB 255.0.0 / 0.001pt
  • Check your engraves are above 1pt or fills of black (no transparencies)
  • Check your photos for engraving are greyscale @300dpi
  • Knock 10mm off the length and width of your artboard
  • Leave a 5mm area around your elements when tiling them up on your artboard for cutting
  • For best results when making a file for cutting, keep the elements of your design as thick or thicker than the material’s thickness
  • Select a laser grade material
  • Name your file using this convention: Customername_Thickness_Material_Size e.g. PaulWalker_3mm_PLYWOOD_A1

File Upload

  • Once you have all this information ready, send it over to us for a quote studio@fredaldous.net
  • We endeavor to provide an estimate the same day for files that are sent before 1 pm and are formatted correctly. Once your estimate is approved we usually complete your job within 48 hrs depending on size and complexity.
  • FILE CREATION
  • BESPOKE PROJECTS

At Fred Aldous Studios we offer a file creation service charged at £30 per hour. Our friendly and skilled team are ready to help you get your ideas cut to the highest possible standard at an affordable cost. We always recommend you build a vector file yourself as File Creation projects have a longer turnaround and we cannot always guarantee how long it takes to build your file.

The more you can provide us with the better. If you have a strong idea of what you are after, please follow the steps below:

Sketch out your idea on paper

Define cut lines with a colour

Define vector score lines with a different colour

Define vector score lines with a different colour

List dimensions where you can

Clearly defined lines

There are 3x different modes of the laser cuter; CUT, SCORE & ENGRAVE. Make these different modes obvious on your drawing by using different colours or clearly annotating

Dimensions

Your drawing does not need to be to scale, however you must clearly list all dimensions on your drawing.

Send us your file

Scan your image at at least 300dpi. You can upload your scanned drawing and send it to us from the link below, or you can drop the physical copy off at FA Studios in our Manchester Shop.

If you need any more assistance or advice with creating your file, take a look in our Bespoke Projects section.

What happens next?

We will let you know that we have received your file. We will then try to provide you with an accurate File Creation quote within 24 hours.
  • We provide you with a quote for file creation
  • We ask that you pay for file creation before we build your file
  • After payment we build your file and send over screenshots for your approval. Small amendments can be made to the file
  • If there are major changes to the file you may incur additional charges
  • After you have paid for your file creation we then release your file
  • We can now quote for your laser job. Your file will be archived for any future laser cutting

If you have an idea you want laser cut but don’t really know where to begin, don’t worry. We want to help you realise your project. Our team of creatives are more than happy to sit down and discuss the best way to bring your project to life.


This is the most costly way to go about getting your job laser cut and the most time consuming, however we recommend going this route if your project is not straight forward. We have worked with galleries, PR companies, coffee shops and architects, amongst others, on bespoke projects.

What happens next?

We will get in touch within 24 hours to discuss your idea and book in a meeting.