Quickstartguide:Laser Cutter

From Publication Station

Prepare file in Illustrator

  • Open your file in Illustrator. Make sure that your file is in RGB mode via File>Document>color mode>RGB.

Colour mode rgb.png

  • Make sure your work has outlines. If you have text, make sure you have made them into outlines. You can do it by selecting your text box and look for the option "Create Outlines" in quick actions or ---> (Type>Create Outlines/Shift+Ctrl+O)

Create outlines lasercutter.png

General Settings

Lines that you want to CUT should be less than 0,025 mm thick and RED (RGB 255, 0, 0).

Lines that you want to ENGRAVE should be less than 0,025 mm thick and BLUE (RGB 0, 0, 255).

Areas that you want to engrave should be in grayscale


Here are some examples on drawing paper:

Cut example.jpg
Cut setting on drawing paper (160gr) TIP: If you are cutting type, make sure to leave some gaps to not make the inside of hollow letters fall (as shown in the examples).
Engrave line example.jpg
Engrave line setting on drawing paper (160gr)
Engrave example 1.jpg Engrave example 2.jpg
The last two examples are engraved type (large black areas)where a grayscale 45° gradient was applied. The first shows a low contrast and the second a high contrast.

  • Select the lines or areas you would like to cut/engrave (to select everything, click ctrl+A/cmnd+A)

  • Print your file (CMD+P).

Print lines.png Print lines 2.png

VLS Software

Your file is now open in the VLS software (the red icon). Open the VLS software.

Are all the colors still OK? If you had BLUE or RED in your illustrator and they aren’t here anymore, double-check the color mode and line thickness in Illustrator and print again.


  • Click Settings

Settings button.png

  • In the materials database, choose what material you are using and enter the correct thickness.

Material choice.png

  • In the next window, specify which action you are going to do in the Manual control (cutting, engraving lines or full areas)

Cut setting red.png

  • Click Set, Apply and OK in order

Set apply ok.png

Start Cutting

  • Before cutting anything, turn on the air vacuum next to the laser cutter. If you don't the program shows a warning window of low air pressure.

Lasercut vacuum.jpg

Side Bar Settings

  • Now you can play with some more setting in the side bar menu to utilize the design and the material better.

Menu lasercutter.png

1. ON/OFF Button: click it to turn on and off the laser cutter

2. START Button: Click when you want to start cutting your design

3. PAUSE Button: Use it to stop the cutting if anything goes wrong. If you want to resume the cutting or engraving, click the pause button again. This way the laser cutter will start from the same spot.

4. Zoom in/out: Use this setting to zoom in and out from your design. It can be done also by scrolling the mouse up and down

5. Focus View: Click anywhere in your design on the screen to see where the laser ends up in the machine. (Useful for positioning your material)

6. Move your design

7. Duplicate: Make copies of your design

8. Timer: Calculate how long the machine will take with the current settings

Now you can press the START button to cut or engrave. If anything goes wrong, press the PAUSE button.

Finish Cutting

  • When you are done cutting or engraving, turn off the air vacuum and the laser cutter by pressing both power buttons.

Happy Printing!


If your are using non-standard materials, experiment with the Manual Control.

By changing the Speed, Power en PPI (Pulses Per Inch), you can get different results.

The z-axis stands for the material thickness. If you are ready, click ‘Set’, ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’.

Useful Links

  • templatemaker.nl Create and download custom sized papercraft and packaging templates for free.
  • MakerCase is a web-based application for designing boxes or project cases for laser cutters and CNC routers.