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Vector Laser Cutting

Vector laser cutting is the most straightforward type of laser cutting. In it, a focused laser beam is automatically guided over a substrate according to directions contained in a CAD file. The laser can be set up to cut the substrate completely or to perform a “kiss cut” that etches a line in the top layer of the substrate material.

Vector laser cutting is contrasted by raster engraving, a process in which the laser acts more like a printer, moving either horizontality or vertically across the substrate and turning on and off to create individual dots. On a technical level, the processes differ in the type of CAD file they use.

Applications and Benefits

Our customers use vector laser cutting in a variety of applications. It can cut easily through several different materials, forming parts out of paper, plastic, rigid foam and other substrates. Laser-cut gaskets are frequently used in the automotive industry, while laser-cut foam is often used for packaging or insulation purposes.

Choose laser cutting for your project if you require precision, repeatability and accuracy. Sophisticated laser cutters can produce clean-edged cuts within a tolerance range of +/- 0.005”, meeting or exceeding the capabilities of most mechanical cutters. As a result, vector laser cutting is suitable for the most demanding projects.

Vector Laser Cutting vs. Raster Engraving

You should be aware of a few essential differences between vector laser cutting and raster engraving. The primary distinction between the two is that vector laser cutting cuts in lines, while raster engraving cuts in dots, or pixels. As mentioned, raster engraving works sort of like the opposite of the old dot matrix printer, removing dots of material instead of adding dots along the way to create the desired effect. In raster engraving, the X-axle operates at high speed, while the Y-axle acts at a lower speed.

In vector engraving, the axles move at the same speed — more slowly than raster engraving — and simply score the graphic outline marked by the vector software. This is often the best approach when you are engraving only thin lines, as you will finish much faster and usually get a better result. When you are engraving a larger surface area, such as creating a full image or engraving filled-in letters, you may prefer raster engraving.

Our Laser-Cutting Capabilities

American Micro Industries offers vector laser-cutting services. We are based in Chambersburg, PA and can quickly turn around projects for clients nationwide. We can work with vector-based CAD drawings created in AutoCAD, CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator and several other platforms. Our laser-cutting machines are equipped to work with paper, foam, rubber, plastic, phenolics and other materials. We can assist with all aspects of your project, from material sourcing to the final assembly.

If you need laser engraving that doesn't take a long time and looks great when it's done, you want AMI doing the work. We use state-of-the-art equipment that allows us to swiftly, easily and accurately engrave just about whatever material you may need laser cut. We always strive to provide the best customer service to our clients and will do whatever it takes to make sure you're satisfied with your laser cutting or other AMI services.

To get started, contact our office and request a quote today.