Start Here October '20

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Direct-to-Substrate S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0 24 Laser Engraving T his tutorial guides you through how to create a custom appliqué for use on a plaque. Using CorelDRAW, the owl appliqué is used as one example of a shape that can be cut out with your laser to enhance a plaque. Step One: Preparing to Create the Appliqué I want to engrave an owl for an appli- qué for a plaque. I intend to cut out the shape of the body and the eyes. I will use a light wood on a dark plaque so the eyes appear dark and 3D. I have vector artwork for the owl, which is black and white and ready to laser. Step Two: Designing the Owl How do you cut out the body shape and the eyes? You can trace the owl outline or use a CorelDRAW tool to complete the job in seconds— The Boundary tool. Select the entire owl, and from t he Co re l D RAW menu, se lect Object>Shaping>Boundary, and you will get an outline of the owl. It may be difficult to see, so zoom in close the select the outline. Then, turn the two eyes to black out- lines while turning the fill to white. to connect it to your computer through a network if you have one. While you decide on a home for your laser, consider where the computer will be located and if the same person is oper- ating both—the closer the operator is to the laser, the better. Also consider where you will store any frequently used inven- tory such a sheet goods. You should also place your laser in a clean location away from sandcarving machines, wood working equipment, and any other production processes that give off small particles (if you offer these). WHAT KIND OF COMPUTER DO I NEED? Most any modern-day PC will oper- ate your laser. What you choose is based on the graphics software (and perhaps other software and attached hardware) you need/want. If you plan to process large graphic files, a memory of 16 GB or larger with a fast processor and high- quality graphics card saves you time and provides the best results. I purchase PCs designed for gaming as the specifications are similar to working with graphics. Software The two most popular basic graph- ics programs for our industry are CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, and Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop. There are other task-oriented software available that are useful as well. A few include PhotoGrav for preparing photos for laser engraving, PhotoScissors for removing backgrounds or objects from a photo, and Graphic Tracer for turning bitmaps into vector art. Laser Cut an Owl Appliqué Laser Engraving

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