Vector files are great for laser marking logos onto parts. They’re easy to work with and can be used to make high quality laser marks of any size. Learn how to prep your vector file and laser marking software to get a high-quality logo on your parts in “Perfecting Your Logo Part 2: Vector Files.”
If your logo is in a raster file format, get tips on laser marking with jpegs, bitmaps, and other raster files in “Perfecting Your Logo Part 1: Raster Files.”
After you finish watching “Perfecting Your Logo Part 2: Vector Files,” learn more about the GeoMARK Pro that was featured in the video, as well as the rest of our line of GeoMARK lasers, accessories, and custom options in our new laser catalog. If you need more information or want to discuss your laser marking application, we’d be happy to speak with you. Click here to find your Regional Manager’s contact info.
What are vector files?
Vector files are images in which software calculates and draws lines (i.e., “vectors”) between points. The collection of lines and points form an image, drawing, logo, etc. Some of the most common types of vector files include Encapsulated Post Script and Drawing eXchange format files.
When you resize a vector image, the software redraws the lines between the image’s points so you can make the image larger or smaller without affecting the quality of the image.
Raster images are more common than vector images. If you have a logo or another raster image that you would like to convert to a vector image, you can’t simply change the filename’s extension. For example, you can’t change a raster image saved as Logo.jpg to Logo.dxf and expect the image to converted to a vector image. Instead, you’ll have to recreate the raster image in vector editing software such as Adobe Illustrator. Some software may include tools to convert a raster image into a vector image, though you may not get the desired results when using those.
Prepping vector files for laser marking
With vector files, there are two things to do before importing the file into your laser software. The first is remove duplicate or overlapping lines. For example, look at the image below.
In these pictures, you can see that when two squares are put right next to each other, the two lines in the middle overlap. If your logo has any overlapping lines like this, you’ll need to delete one of the lines. You can do this manually, though some software have tools that can do this automatically for you. If you go that route, just be sure to inspect your logo afterward to make sure the software didn’t erroneously alter it.
Secondly, make sure that all your shapes are fully closed. All of your lines should connect with at least one other line so that there are no openings in your art. If your logo has shapes with openings like in the image below, you’ll need to close them before importing the file into your editing software.
Once you’ve done these two things, you can import your vector file into your laser marking software.
Setting up your vector file in your laser software
After importing your vector file, check its size and resize as needed. Remember, vector files can be resized without affecting the quality of the image, so feel free to make the image as big or small as needed.
If you want the outline of the image marked, check the option in your software for marking the outline. If you only want an outline, you can go ahead and start your mark. However, there are a few more setting to check if you want your vector image to have a fill.
The essential ones for filling are the hatch, distance, and angle options.
Enabling a hatch will fill the vector file with lines. The distance setting tells the laser how far apart those lines should be. The angle tells the laser at which angle the lines should go. So if the hatches are set at a distance at .08mm and an angle of 0 degrees, you’d get horizontal lines that are .08mm apart.
To get a really solid fill, we recommend starting with a distance at .05mm and doing two hatches: one at a zero-degree angle and one at a 90-degree angle. You can choose to do a smaller or larger distance, use different angles, or use more or less hatches. Just keep in mind that these settings may affect how long it takes your mark to finish and how solid the fill will be.
Once you’ve made these adjustments you’re ready to mark! Be sure to watch our video above to see our marking results.
Laser marking vector files vs raster files
So those are the basics of laser marking logos with vector files. Marking with vector files can be simple and generally, we recommend using vector files over raster files whenever possible. You don’t have to worry about image resolution when it comes to vector files, they usually require less prep work than a raster image, and they’re also more versatile than raster images. So if you have access to a vector file of your logo, we suggest using that for marking.