Vector Engraving, also known as Surface Cutting, Kiss Cutting or scoring is a method of almost drawing onto the surface of the material, a good way of putting information on the material fairly quickly.The laser’s computer will follow the vector line which you have drawn in the files to etch only the surface of the material: You prepare the file and we program the laser machine to the specific speeds and powers to accurately mark the material without cutting all the way through.
Above there is an image of vector engraving from 2mm corrugated cardboard and the corresponding file from which the laser machine cut it from. This example is from an architectural site model, showing where buildings or roads are. It can also we used to great effect to engrave details into items to be cut, these lines can be filled with paint or ink to show them up more.
A couple of pointers:
- To differentiate between a cut line and a vector surface cut, change the colour on the file, for example: full cut-red, vector engraving-blue and specify on the file in text as to what you intend the coloured lines to be.
- Generally surface cuts are quicker than infill engraving, but if there is a huge amount of information and a lot of detail to be engraved it can be quite time consuming. If you are making a scale model, you may benefit from reducing the detail, for example drawing on every brick on a 1:1000 model will be very time consuming and might just look like a very charred bit of cardboard!