How do I make an engraving?

Hoe maak ik een gravure? - Snijlab

Do you want to mark text, shapes or lines on your laser-cut parts? Then this can be done with an engraving. In the laser drawing you can distinguish between cutting and engraving.

Laser engravings are a superficial marking, the result is consistent and the level of detail is high. The result of the engraving differs per material, on the material pages you can find the effect of engraving per material.

What is the difference between line and surface engravings?

Line engravings are made with one thin line, the laser beam follows the drawn line. Plane engraving is completely filling in the shape between these lines. The laser places many lines close to each other, making it appear as one plane.


Line engravings are sharp and thin, falcon engravings are an even surface. Both techniques have a high level of detail.


Indicate in your drawing what line and what area engravings are with the correct line colors and layer names.

1. Draw a picture

When creating a drawing, use the correct line colors and layers. View the drawing rules .

Color (.ai, .pdf) Layer name (.dxf, .dwf)
To cut Blue (RGB 0, 0, 255) to cut
Line engraving Red (RGB 255, 0, 0) line engraving
Surface engraving Magenta (RGB 255, 0, 255) surface engraving

Please note that there must be a cutting line in each drawing. Do you only want an engraving? Then draw a frame around your design.

2. Draw vector lines

Line engravings are drawn in lines, it does not matter where the start and end point of your line is.
You draw surface engravings with closed shapes, it is important that there is no starting and ending point. You can place shapes on top of each other, then the outer contour is used.

Do you want to recess something within your engraved area? Then you have to draw a shape inside it.
If you want to flatten thickened lines, you must first convert them to a shape. Read on to learn how to do that.


Do you use a hatch as an indication for a surface engraving in your drawing? Hatches are not recognized via the web app. To convert the hatch into a curve use the following commands:

Select the hatch with > selhatch
Add an outline with > dub border
Delete the hatch with > selhatch > delete

The hatch has now been removed and only consists of a curve.



Do you use a stroke in your drawing? These are not recognized, convert your lines to Outlines.
Select your stroke and go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke


If you want to merge shapes, use Pathfinder > Merge or the Shapebuilder tool

3. Text

Convert text to vector lines, otherwise it will not be recognized.


To ensure that text in your design is recognized by the web app, convert the text to outlines / curves.

You create text in Rhino with the command > Text
After choosing the right font you can select the text with > SelText


Now you can convert the text to curves with > Explode
At this point you only see an outline, the file is ready to be uploaded.



In Illustrator you convert text to vector lines with the Create Outlines / Create Letter Outlines function. You can find this in the Toolbar under Type or by selecting your text and clicking the right mouse button.

Select your text and go to Type > Create Outlines
Or right-click > Create Outlines


Is your text in an area and do you want to recess your text? Then both shapes must merge into one. You do this by selecting both > Pathfinder > Exclude


4. Upload your drawing

Upload your drawing onsnijlab.nl and check your drawing in the preview.

You can see in the preview

  • Cut lines in blue lines
  • Line engravings in red lines
  • Plane engravings in magenta areas

The preview in your shopping cart shows how your drawing is read by our software, this is what we will make for you. So check this carefully.


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