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Laser cutting questions

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  • Katie Harper
    I seem to remember a discussion awhile back about some people who were experimenting with laser cutting as a way to get relief plates, as opposed to polymer.
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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      I seem to remember a discussion awhile back about some people who were
      experimenting with laser cutting as a way to get relief plates, as opposed
      to polymer. I'm wondering if a)it works for letterpress; b)it's at all cost
      effective, and c) can laser cutters read the usual types of graphics files
      that service bureaus can, ie, Quark, Illustrator, etc.? I'm told that some
      laser cutters work from a CAD environment, and there is not much available
      in CAD software for Mac, is there?

      Thanks for any help/advice.

      Katie Harper
      Ars Brevis Press
      Cincinnati, OH
      513-233-9588
      http://www.arsbrevispress.com
    • Bryan Hutcheson
      Katie Most cad programs will read asci encoded eps files as long as everything is converted to outlines. I used to layout extensive dies for clamshell
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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        Katie

        Most cad programs will read asci encoded eps files as long as everything is
        converted to outlines. I used to layout extensive dies for clamshell
        packaging in illustrator... convert them over to pc or unix based cad
        programs that would render 3-d mold guidelines. We would also then take
        those 3-d images and re-import them into photoshop. Its easy to go back and
        forth... Anyone running a cad program should have the option of importing
        vector eps files...


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Silver MayKitten
        I have used sign cutting laser tables for cutting wood blocks with good effect. Modern signmaking software allows excellent control of countour and depth of
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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          I have used sign cutting laser tables for cutting wood
          blocks with good effect. Modern signmaking software
          allows excellent control of countour and depth of cut.

          NOTE: The quality of the printing from the finished
          block will depend upon the quality of the surface of
          the block prior to cutting. You must use hardwood.

          As to application:

          Type: down to 8 pt. Futura Book good to excellent
          Line drawings: Will hold lies to 0.3 mm
          Halftones: Forget it if finer than 32.5 line

          MayKitten

          --- Katie Harper <knharper@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > I seem to remember a discussion awhile back about
          > some people who were
          > experimenting with laser cutting as a way to get
          > relief plates, as opposed
          > to polymer. I'm wondering if a)it works for
          > letterpress; b)it's at all cost
          > effective, and c) can laser cutters read the usual
          > types of graphics files
          > that service bureaus can, ie, Quark, Illustrator,
          > etc.? I'm told that some
          > laser cutters work from a CAD environment, and there
          > is not much available
          > in CAD software for Mac, is there?
          >
          > Thanks for any help/advice.
          >
          > Katie Harper
          > Ars Brevis Press
          > Cincinnati, OH
          > 513-233-9588
          > http://www.arsbrevispress.com
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


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          BY: Doreen Valiente

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        • joefreedman
          ... Katie, We have a couple laser cutters including one 50 watt machine that cuts through 1/4 cherry hardwood very easily. I did at one point try imaging a
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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            >I seem to remember a discussion awhile back about some people who were
            >experimenting with laser cutting as a way to get relief plates, as opposed
            >to polymer. I'm wondering if a)it works for letterpress; b)it's at all cost

            Katie,

            We have a couple laser cutters including one 50 watt machine that
            cuts through 1/4 cherry hardwood very easily. I did at one point try
            imaging a photopolymer plate on the laser with not great results. If
            your goal is just to find an alternative to photopolymer I don't
            think lasers are the way to go. It is much faster to make a negative
            and plate than using a cutting laser. And the quality will be better
            on a well made plate.

            There are two modes that the lasers use: vector and raster. Vector
            drives the laser around the edge usually for cutting through a
            material while raster is used for engraving. Raster is capable of
            1000 dpi but quality is very dependent on speed. The slower it goes
            the better the quality. Some files can take up to an hour to image
            for only 18 or 20 square inches. Usually we find a compromise point
            between absolute edge resolution and timeliness.

            Lasers are great for digital diecuts and complicated, repetitive
            cuts. We mostly work from Freehand/Illustrator files but most shops
            should be able to handle Corel and cad files as well. You can see
            some of our stuff showing fineness of cuts at our website:

            http://www.sarabande.com

            Best

            Joe
          • Fritz Klinke
            I don t know the details, but flexo printers use such a system for cutting relief plates in rubber. I just talked to one this past week who called for
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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              I don't know the details, but flexo printers use such a system for cutting
              relief plates in rubber. I just talked to one this past week who called for
              assistance with their Vandercook, as even though the plates are cut direct
              from a computer file, errors still creep in and it is far better to catch
              errors at the plate stage than to be on press, or print the job and then
              find the mistake.

              Fritz Klinke, NA Graphics
              1314 Greene Street, P.O. Box 467
              Silverton, Colorado 81433 USA
              970-387-0212, fax 970-387-0127
              nagraph@...

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Katie Harper" <knharper@...>
              To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2003 5:17 PM
              Subject: [PPLetterpress] Laser cutting questions




              I seem to remember a discussion awhile back about some people who were
              experimenting with laser cutting as a way to get relief plates, as opposed
              to polymer. I'm wondering if a)it works for letterpress; b)it's at all cost
              effective, and c) can laser cutters read the usual types of graphics files
              that service bureaus can, ie, Quark, Illustrator, etc.? I'm told that some
              laser cutters work from a CAD environment, and there is not much available
              in CAD software for Mac, is there?

              Thanks for any help/advice.

              Katie Harper
              Ars Brevis Press
              Cincinnati, OH
              513-233-9588
              http://www.arsbrevispress.com
            • David Goodrich
              The laser process doesn t seem like a practical alternative to photopolymer for creating new text plates from computer files, but it sounds as if it could be
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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                The laser process doesn't seem like a practical alternative to photopolymer
                for creating new text plates from computer files, but it sounds as if it
                could be perfect for producing replicas of missing letters or additional
                sorts for wood type fonts. Has anyone used it for this?
                Are there shops where something like this could be jobbed out? I would not
                want to invest in laser equipment to produce a handful of letters.

                David Goodrich

                >I seem to remember a discussion awhile back about some people who were
                >experimenting with laser cutting as a way to get relief plates, as opposed
                >to polymer. I'm wondering if a)it works for letterpress; b)it's at all cost

                Katie,

                We have a couple laser cutters including one 50 watt machine that
                cuts through 1/4 cherry hardwood very easily. I did at one point try
                imaging a photopolymer plate on the laser with not great results. If
                your goal is just to find an alternative to photopolymer I don't
                think lasers are the way to go. It is much faster to make a negative
                and plate than using a cutting laser. And the quality will be better
                on a well made plate.

                There are two modes that the lasers use: vector and raster. Vector
                drives the laser around the edge usually for cutting through a
                material while raster is used for engraving. Raster is capable of
                1000 dpi but quality is very dependent on speed. The slower it goes
                the better the quality. Some files can take up to an hour to image
                for only 18 or 20 square inches. Usually we find a compromise point
                between absolute edge resolution and timeliness.

                Lasers are great for digital diecuts and complicated, repetitive
                cuts. We mostly work from Freehand/Illustrator files but most shops
                should be able to handle Corel and cad files as well. You can see
                some of our stuff showing fineness of cuts at our website:

                http://www.sarabande.com

                Best

                Joe



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              • Gerald Lange
                Hi David When we had originally discussed this that was a suggestion of mine. I think it would work well for this purpose. But as others have mentioned it is
                Message 7 of 9 , Mar 16, 2003
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                  Hi David

                  When we had originally discussed this that was a suggestion of mine. I
                  think it would work well for this purpose. But as others have mentioned
                  it is quite expensive. There is one at an institution I work for and we
                  are billed something like $80 per hour for usage (which is probably
                  cheap?). And these don't exactly cut all that fast. I doubt you could
                  invest in laser cutting equipment unless you were daddy warbucks or
                  something. Prices are somewhat astronomical and they are high
                  maintenance. There are signage shops and the like that use these and I
                  suspect that jobbing the work out wouldn't hurt too much ($$$)?

                  But given the costs I wouldn't think you'd want to create an entire font
                  though it might work well as a way to replace missing characters that
                  you just can't live without. Its really just a matter of getting the
                  finished piece to type high. Laser cutters don't cut all that deep, or
                  perhaps I should say it this way, the deeper the laser has to cut the
                  slower it goes.

                  We would do the outlines (which the laser follows) in Illustrator and
                  those would be imported into Corel, which is the software that ran the
                  lasers. I was thinking of making my door sign with this stuff but never
                  got around to it.

                  Gerald

                  David Goodrich wrote:

                  >The laser process doesn't seem like a practical alternative to photopolymer
                  >for creating new text plates from computer files, but it sounds as if it
                  >could be perfect for producing replicas of missing letters or additional
                  >sorts for wood type fonts. Has anyone used it for this?
                  >Are there shops where something like this could be jobbed out? I would not
                  >want to invest in laser equipment to produce a handful of letters.
                  >
                  >David Goodrich
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >>I seem to remember a discussion awhile back about some people who were
                  >>experimenting with laser cutting as a way to get relief plates, as opposed
                  >>to polymer. I'm wondering if a)it works for letterpress; b)it's at all cost
                  >>
                  >>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • joefreedman
                  Gerald, ... Our rate is much cheaper but I m not sure about sign guys in general. I think $75 to $80 is about right. ... You still need an outline. If the
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 17, 2003
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                    Gerald,

                    >it is quite expensive. There is one at an institution I work for and we
                    >are billed something like $80 per hour for usage (which is probably

                    Our rate is much cheaper but I'm not sure about sign guys in general.
                    I think $75 to $80 is about right.

                    >But given the costs I wouldn't think you'd want to create an entire font
                    >though it might work well as a way to replace missing characters that

                    You still need an outline. If the letter was completely missing you'd
                    have to recreate it keeping the overall weight of the alphabet in
                    mind. Once the outline is done you could make a vector cut very
                    quickly (well under 3 minutes per letter) out of 1/4 inch maple.
                    Perhaps this could be mounted to a block so its type high. If you
                    were to raster the same letter it would take much longer--maybe 15 or
                    20 minutes per letter.

                    There are computer driven engraving machines that might do a better
                    job. Roland makes one and some Sherline milling machines are also cad
                    file driven.


                    Joe
                  • Gerald Lange
                    Joe If you are making this available as a service would you like me to place entries in the Links section and the Database? Like your website, and the free
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 17, 2003
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                      Joe

                      If you are making this available as a service would you like me to
                      place entries in the Links section and the Database?

                      Like your website, and the free font Rant!!!

                      Gerald



                      > Our rate is much cheaper but I'm not sure about sign guys in general.
                      > I think $75 to $80 is about right.
                      >
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