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How to Combine UV Printing With Laser Cutting

UV direct-to-substrate printing is a great technique for creating stylish and useful products for your customers. If you are ready to take your everyday UV printing techniques to the next level, combining UV-printed products with laser techniques can offer enhanced efficiencies for high-volume products while adding another dimension to the artwork. Here’s a nine-step guide for merging the best of both worlds.

How to Combine UV Printing With Laser Cutting

Use these nine steps to gain efficiencies while adding art capabilities.

By Evan Reutling, Print Specialist, LogoJET

(Originally published in the March/April 2022 issue of Insights.)

UV direct-to-substrate printing is a great technique for creating stylish and useful products for your customers. If you are ready to take your everyday UV printing techniques to the next level, combining UV-printed products with laser techniques can offer enhanced efficiencies for high-volume products while adding another dimension to the artwork. Here’s a nine-step guide for merging the best of both worlds.

 

1. Create or find the art you would like to use for the product. The art you use and the shapes you cut don’t have to be the same. However, vector files provide optimal results. All of your file creation for your print and cut files will be done in your graphic design software then imported into your printer’s RIP software and your laser cutter’s software as “print/cut ready.” This implies that your file size is the same as your substrate and that everything is oriented as you want it to print. Doing this not only ensures that no other changes need to be made, but it also reduces the amount of work for your operator.

 

2. Template your art for printing. Choose your spacing and alignment. You can duplicate as many copies of your artwork as needed to fill up your print area. Once your template is created and at ready-to-print standards, save this as your “ready-to-print” file.

PRO TIP: Adding a right angle inside of a corner of your artwork can be used as an alignment indicator for your laser. This would indicate the “start” of your artwork.

3. Create your cut file using your ready-to-print file. In this step, you will use your graphic design software to create an outline of the shape you want to cut, using your artwork as a guide to help you visualize the final product. Once you’re done creating the cut lines, you will need to remove all the artwork from the file before saving your final ready-to-cut file.

4. Import your ready-to-print file into the RIP software, positioning it into the print area. Place your substrate on your printer bed. You can either print an outline of your print area or corner your substrate at the printer’s “0,0” position for proper alignment.

5. Print your artwork onto the substrate. 

6. Position your printed substrate on your laser cutter. Try to align at least one straight edge of the substrate with the side of the cutting area. This ensures the substrate is straight.

7. Position the laser’s starting point. Align the laser with the right angle that you printed at the top corner of your art file. Drag and snap your ready-to-cut file onto your laser position.

8. Send the job to cut. 

9. You’re done! Once the cutting is finished, you can remove the pieces from your laser, and your product is complete.

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