Laser Cut

  • Dear Sir or Madam, I would like to take this opportunity to ask how and with which software printed sheets can best be cut out with a 3-axis laser cutter. Of course not everything, just components that have to be manufactured with better high precision or in thick cardboard. Thank you for all constructive and professional answers.


    “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” ― Winston S. Churchill.

  • Hi Bella,

    The exact filetype and structure usually depends on what Lasercutter you have, so you should check the manual first. But they all need some form of Vectorfile. So you need a vector graphics editor like Adobe Illustrator (subscription, and therefore expensive), CorelDRAW (expensive), Affinity Designer (cheap) or Inkscape (free&Open Source).

    If you know how you should draw the parts (again, check the manual of your cutter), you need to scan your printed model and redraw all the lines that you want to cut. Remember to keep little tabs, so the parts stay put. Depending on the Model this will be a lot of work. Now send only your drawing to the cutter and start cutting.

    You might need to tweak your settings, so its best to start small in order to get familiar with your cutter.

    Please note that you shouldn't try to cut parts from the print itself. No matter how careful you are Scanning, Redrawing and the orientation of the paper on the Lasercutter will all add inaccuracies. So its very likey that these parts wouldn't be cut the way you except and finer parts might even be ruined. So always use fresh material and only cut parts where the printing isn't important. (Frames from thick cardboard, Railings, Ladders, ...)


  • hello Sir, thank you very much for the quick and very detailed answer which is really helpful. I had already bought a laser cutter online a few months ago and although it was quite cheap, a test run showed high accuracy. (<0.01mm) I want to make a set of gears for a model out of thick cardboard. I already own illustrator and the laser plotter is ready to understand open source programs. that actually everything has to be redrawn is actually complex and new for me as a laser novice. But if it is so then there is no way around it. unless I find gears that have already been lasered and fit. I will write my experience report here.

    The picture of my laser plotter, and I got him with 5.5W. Do you think he can cut 3mm card board? ( I hope it is ok to post the picture)

    Thank you, Bella.

  • Hi bella,

    For the Gear you can also use a generator like this one:

    You might need to tweak the file so your cutter can use it, but it would probably be much quicker. But yeah, usually everything needs to be redrawn because if you scan a printed model, you have what is essentially a photo/bitmap. But the cutter needs instructions like "Cut from (X1,Y1) to (X2,Y2)". Thats information that bitmaps don't contain, but vector files do.

    Even if you have a free download that already comes in a vector format, you will still need to tweak it for you cutter. Unneccassary details must be removed and stuff like Railings need to be redrawn: Because Railings are usually only drawn as a single line, so the cutter would also only cut once, which isn't what you want/need.

    Not sure if 3mm would work, might be too thick for a low powered Lasercutter. You will definitely need to use multiple passes. If you try to cut it in one go, you will probably burn the cardboard...

    If it can't do 3mm, you could of course simply cut the gears 3 times from ~1mm Cardboard and glue them together.


  • Thank you a lot for your support and special to the link of the generator!

    Will give a look on that. By the way: I tryed to cut plywood.6mm. very ease cut and rounded where it needs. No " steps" . Amazing for that prize. Look forward to use on a model after gaining more confidence.


    “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” ― Winston S. Churchill.