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Re: [PPLetterpress] Laser cutting questions

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  • 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 1 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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      From the book, Charge of the Goddess
      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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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