Laser Cutting Guide

Laser Cutting Guide to better understand laser cutting pricing and processes.Understand the benefits of using our laser cutting services


Don't forget to use the Quick Quote form in the left sidebar, our sales staff are standing by to assist you with your order.You can expect a response within 2 hours during weekdays - mon to Fri between 8:00 and 16:30

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Choose your topic...



  1. How Much Does Laser Cutting Cost?


  2. You Want It When?


  3. File Creation / Computer Drawing


  4. File Preperation


  5. Materials We Laser Cut


  6. Supplying Your Own Material


  7. We Can Do The Following...


1. Laser Cutting Guide To Laser Pricing.



The price of laser cutting is dependant on the following three factors.

  • The type of material.
  • How thick the material is.
  • Your required turnaround time.

For example...

  1. Cutting a running metre of 10mm mild steel would take 0.31 min at R30.00 / min equates to R9.30.
  2. Cutting 10mm stainless steel on the other hand would take 1.13 to cut a running meter at R30.00 / min equates to R33.90.

Please note we have a minimum order of R300.00.(This covers minimum labour and admin fees).


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2. Laser Cutting Guide To Laser Turnaround Times

The nature of being in business is such that at some time or another we all find ourselves between a rock and a hard place in meeting our customers needs. If that has happened to you and you desperately need an order expedited - please, understand that we will do our best to try and help you. However, the normal processes of our industry are such that there is always a que of customers jobs waiting to be processed.

Jumping the que for your job causes a ripple effect, requiring extra man hours and "stress" to calm the waters after putting out - your fire.


With that in mind we've put this laser cutting guide together which presents a new pricing system designed to help off-set the direct and in-direct costs asscociated with such ripple effects caused in the normal day to day running of our business.

"THE FIRST THING TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT WE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO ALWAYS MEET YOUR TURNAROUND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU ARE PREPARED TO PAY THE EXPEDITED FEE."

Expediting charges

Assuming it's possible to pull out the stops on your job and meet your deadline, the following examples will help clarify how the "expedited" pricing works

Firstly, the only person who can agree to expediting a job is a head of department. The "haste" charges you can expect to pay, range between 20% - 100% more (this is on top of the normal price) for each expedited day, depending what the standard turn-time time for that job normally is.

(This percentage is such that the minimum-time price will be doubled for same-day service)

Below Is An Example Of A Standard 3-Day-Turn-Time On A
Minimum R300 Order, Showing Various Expedited Pricing Options.

  • Two business days R399, added 33% (R99) to the std min price.

  • One business day R498, added 66%to the std min price.

  • Same day service R 600, added 100% to the std min price

Below Is An Example Of A Standard 5-Day-Turn-Time On A
Minimum R300 Order, Showing Various Expedited Pricing Options.

  • Four working days is R360, added 20% to the standard min price.

  • Three working days: R420, added 40% to the standard minimum price

  • Two working days: R480, added 60% to the standard minimum price

  • One working day service R540, added 80% to the minimum price

  • Same day service R600 added 100% (double our normal price)


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We have had many emails requesting file creation information, this is one of the main reasons for producing this laser cutting guide in an attempt to solve the most common file preparation issues.


3. File Creation / Computer Drawing /

If you don't have your design in a vector format file (DXF) , we might be able to draw your components on our computer. Our drawing charges are R250 per hour or part thereof

If you would like us to quote including file creation (Computer Drawing) ie. "You do not have your components in a vector format file." Please inform us that you are submitting a standard file type (that clearly shows the exact component you require).

This standard file can be any file that we can read. For example a text file including a written description, even a scan of a hand sketch [PDF, JPG ,BMP, GIF], or something you mocked up in Excel, Paint or Word.


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4. File Preperation


The Laser Cutting Guide To Accepted File Formats.

We use Auto cad version 2010 lite to draw and laser-cut parts.We are able to use file types from a variety of other programs providing they can be exported or saved as one of the vector-file types below.

Accepted Vector Format File Types

  • DXF compatible with Auto CAD v. 2010 or earlier.
  • DWG (These are fine as long as they are compatible with Auto CAD v. 2010 and earlier.

We can use other file formats not listed above but cannot be sure of being able to open them.

If you would like to send us different file types, please fill out the "Quick Quote" form press "submit" and the "thank-you page will have further instructions for sending your files to us.:


We will try and open them, if not we'll let you know.

Whenever in doubt default to a DXF file compatible with Auto cad 2010 and earlier.(Usually you find that programs will give you the option to "Save as" or "Export" to this file format and include an "Advanced Option" where you can set Auto cad compatibility.

Should you want us to create the file for you then please take careful note of the section below about setting up a sketch or mock up on file.


Laser Cutting Guide To File Set Up

If you use one of the following programs...

  • CorelDRAW
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Turbo CAD
  • Auto CAD
  • Open Office Draw

... to create a cutting file for your parts please be sure to set up your files keeping the following in mind.

The "Cut Lines" -

  • Be sure to draw thin black lines to indicate where you want the laser to cut.
  • If you use CorelDraw make sure you use "Hairline"
  • In Turbo cad be sure to set the line thickness to 0.
  • In other programs set your line thickness to 0.003 inches or 0.01mm wide or less

The Size Reference

  • Include at least the overall dimensions for purposes of scaling

Laser Cutting Guide To Doing Your Own Drawing Layout

  • If you choose to layout your own parts please include your layout in a different area in your file (keep it away from the single copies of each unique part) and be sure to label it as your layout.
  • Should you have any small unique parts in the layout, you don't have to include a single copy of each piece listing how many of each you require; your layout on its own will suffice

  • Our largest layout area is 4m x 2m and needs a CAD file as indicated below.



Laser Cutting Guide To Using CAD Files

Make sure your files are purely two dimensional (2D) if you are drawing them in CAD.

    You Need Send Only One File For Each Material.

    In that file include the following....

  • Only one copy of each different or unique part you require
  • How many of that part you require
  • What material they should be cut from
  • Include the above information in the file in the form of text or you could include it in the "Special Instructions" section of the ""Quick Quote"" form.
  • Please make our lives a little easier by leaving enough space around each part so that we can easily drag a rectangle around them to "Select" the part
  • If you insist on sending multiple files for the same design, please make sure they are sent together. Make a point of explaining what you would like us to do with each file by making clear notes in the "Special Instruction" section of our ""Quick Quote"" form.

Laser Cutting Guide To - Saving Cutouts

If you want to keep the cutouts please communicate this clearly in writing in your file or include this instruction in the "Special Instructions" section of the ""Quick Quote"" form on the website.


Tip


Sharp Corners

Laser Cutting Guide To Reducing Cracking On Your Parts.

You may consider rounding sharp corners if you have any in your design also known as (adding a radius) to a corner or (adding a fillet). This will make your parts less likely to crack around the corners. However, having said that we can certainly cut your pieces with sharp corners should you prefer.



Laser Cutting Guide To Making Allowance For The Kerf

The kerf is the actual thickness of the laser beam, which in our instance is about 0.25

As an example if you wanted the hole in your part to be 10 mm, then you should draw a hole with a diameter of 10.25 mm.

If you wanted a circular part to have a diameter of 40mm them you would draw the circle with a diameter of 40.25.



These figures are approximate and will vary depending on the material and its thickness.



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5. Laser Cutting Guide To Materials We Laser Cut

Coming soon


6. Laser Cutting Guide To Supplying Your Own Material

  • Material Sheets should be no larger than 4m X 2m.

  • If you are shipping material to us please include a note with your full name, day-time phone number, quote number, and the email address that you regularly check. Material must be very flat (not warped, bowed or rolled) This hinders the lasers focus.

  • If your material supplier is delivering directly to us on your behalf please be sure that they include your full name and quote number in the "Attention" line of the address.

  • The material invoice, label, packing list or receipt should also include your day-time phone number.

  • Please make sure that your supplier selects the flattest material and that they ship it flat, not rolled, bent or folded.

  • Allways be clear in communicating weather you would like us to ship excess material and cut-outs back to you.



Laser Cutting Guide To Software For Drawing Laser-Cut Parts

We use Auto cad 2010 lite to draw and cut parts. We can open files from various other programs (Our accepted files list can be seen above). If you are looking for a program to draw your parts in vector-format, try these "free trial" and completely free options.

Open Office Draw:

This free vector graphics drawing software comes as part of an office suite available at www.openoffice.org". The entire suite must be downloaded in order to use the drawing program.

Inkscape:

Another free vector-graphics drawing software, this one available from www.inkscape.org. If you use this program please make sure you include a one inch size square reference in your svg file from inkscape. Sometimes we have "scaling" issues when opening these files in our software

Coreldraw trial version:

You can get a free trial of this vector-graphics drawing software (Its capabilities are similar to Adobe Illustrator) get it from www.corel.com. Make sure you save your file as version 12 or earlier so that we can open it.

Turbo Cad professional trial version:

You can get a free trial of this CAD software here. www.turbocad.com. Make sure you save your file as a DXF (this is compatible with Auto cad v. 2010 and earlier). Access this option in the "Save As" window under "Set Up".

Please note that your drawing will need to be cleaned up in respect to the line quality, any useless and extra lines must be removed



Setting Up A Sketch Or Mock-Up (If We Are Drawing Your Parts For You)

  • For us to laser cut your parts, we would need you to give us one of the accepted files listed above. If you want us to draw your parts for you, we will need a mock-up file of the parts you require, or at least a file with a clearly written description of the pieces you need.

  • You can use any file type which we can read, for example. A text file, with your typed description. You could also scan a hand sketch and save it as a PDF,GIF, BMP, or JPG, even a mock up in Excel, Word or Paint.

  • When requesting a quote that includes file creation, please submit your files in the ""Quick Quote"" form where you will see an email called: drawing-files@laser-cutting-online.com. Send your files as an attachment using this email and clearly communicate that you require us to draw your parts in the "Special Instructions" field of the ""Quick Quote"" form.

  • Our file creation charges are listed above.

  • Make sure that your written description includes all sizes of parts, the quantities you need and the material type For each example.



The Laser Cutting Guide To Clearly Communicating Your Requirements

  • If you're hand-drawing a sketch, please scan the drawing and send us the JPG, BMP, Gif or PDF file. Any copy shop or small print job-shop will be able to scan your sketch for you
  • Make sure that all mock ups and scans have all the necessary dimensions (legible), and be sure to make clear which units of measure you are using.
  • When indicating hole locations, please indicate the distance from the hole centre to the edge of the part.
  • Include the quantities needed for each part.
  • Include the material type and thickness
  • If you are supplying your own material, please let us know the sheet size you will be sending.
  • One last thing, if you are sending more than one file could you please zip your files


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7. Laser Cutting Guide To What We Can Do

It's a fact, we can laser cut almost anything you can draw, including complex designs, small screw holes, sharp angles, and smooth curves.


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Metals Centre
18 John St
Unit C1, John st Warehouse
Selby ext. 11
2001
Gauteng
South Africa

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Ph: 27-ll-493-4930
Fax: 27-ll-493-4941