Help with laser cutting

Hey y’all, I am having some issues getting some custom laser images to actually cut. I tried doing some image processing in Gimp ahead of time, but when I tried to print I got an error back saying something like “no data was sent, there may be an issue with the RAST/VECT settings”. I feel like it’s much more likely to be user error than a problem with the settings though.

For a little context, I tried two ways to create the file, which is just cutting out a very simple shape. First, I manually drew a path, and added a stroke to that path. Second, I sent a file with the whole filled area as a black vector, but I wasn’t very confident that would work…

Can anyone give me a tip or two for how to create custom files so they’ll actually cut? I’d prefer to use Gimp as I have access to that at home, but totally open to whatever works best.

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Can you include the example file you were using?

Also what did you import it into corel or illustrator

Ah, unfortunately I don’t have the files I was working with. I was doing this at the computer and trying different things and since nothing worked I didn’t save any of the files… I tried printing straight from Gimp and also tried importing into Corel, but got that error both ways. Corel was crashing a lot which was a pain, so would not be distraught if illustrator was recommended.

I’ve never printed directly from anything other than Corel or illustrator so I would always recommend importing them into one of those.

For illustrator never just do a file open and try to print. Always open your file first in illustrator then copy it into a fresh Template.
This ensures nothing weird happens and also makes sure you are using the correct colors that the laser can recognize.

Another thing noteworthy, if you are using the blue laser you need to make sure the laser boots up before opening corel or illustrator. if you don’t when you click “print” Corel will crash.
You can verify this by opening up the print dialogue and waiting till the green play button lights up.

Send me your file next time if you are still having issues

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Ah, awesome, that sounds like it’s gonna help a ton. Hoping to get to the space tomorrow to give it another go. Thanks!

For cutting vectors, the line has to be set to hairline, otherwise when you print to the laser, nothing will be sent. Don’t know if that relates to your problem, but it caught me once.


Ah, that could definitely be another of my issues. I couldn’t find a setting called hairline in Gimp, but Google tells me that 0.2mm is a good line width for laser cutting, and I am fairly certain that my lines were wider than that. Super excited to cut some stuff tomorrow with all the things I’ve learned here! Thanks!

Ok, I got a step closer in that my files are now making it to the laser cutter, but the lines are cutting as raster instead of lines. Here’s my process for creating the files:

  1. Draw a path around the shape that I want. This includes the contour line that I want to cut and then I take the path outside the image around the top of the image to ensure I encompass the entire area above the contour line. I’m attaching some images that should help this make more sense.
  2. Select from path. This gives me a selection that follows the contour line and then a straight line around the edge of the image above the contour line.
  3. Stroke selection. To attempt to get a “hairline” I used some pretty small widths for this line, 0.1 mm was not visible, but 0.2 mm was, so I went with that.
  4. Copied the layer to a new image and exported as a PNG.

(A few more clarifications: I tried this in Illustrator where it said there was no data, but Corel sent it to the cutter, but resulted in the rastering. I went into the preferences and made sure that red was cutting as Vect, with 80% power, 20% speed.)

Here’s an example of a file I’m trying to cut:

Google drive keeps crashing so I can’t get the actual file, but here’s a phone picture of what the topo map looks like:

Cool ,
so you just need to set the stroke of your lines to .001 in illustrator or hairline in corel and they will be recognized as vecotors. Then make sure you have the correct colors correspond to vectors in the print dialogue.


One more note once your in illustrator or corel you will normally always need to redo the line widths/verify proper colors.

Also do not export from gimp as a Png that turns everything into pixels(so will always be a raster) unless you image trace/ expand in illustrator to get back to vector lines.

Save your file from gimp as SVG, PDF, DXF, DWG then you should just be able to check line widths and colors then print.
See which format works best.

Ok, awesome! I was able to export as PDF or SVG from Gimp, so I’ll give those a try next visit. Hoping third time round will be successful. Thanks for all the help!