Creating artwork to be used for printing and cutting are two entirely different beasts. Although some more experienced printers will be able to effectively convert your print pdf in to a file that can be cut, it is always best to make sure you send artwork that is already cut-ready. Here are some helpful tips for creating cut-ready artwork.
EPS files are a plotters best friend, they are easy to work with, paths can easily be altered and edited if needs be. Illustrator files (AI) are also good to work with, as are PDFs.
When saving your files to be cut by a normal plotter (mainly stickers, labels & small format) it is better to save in the above formats.
When you are saving your files to be cut by a large CAD cutter, such as machines that cut Dibond, Foamex and sheeted materials it is better to supply your files in DXF or Interactive PDF file types.
Outlining Type & Creating Paths
Most cutters will not be able to decipher normal type, text within files is always required to be outlined. This can be done in Illustrator by selecting your text and navigating to Type > Create Outlines.
For shape cuts it is recommended to delete the fill colour and just supply the shapes with strokes. These strokes do not need to be expanded. We advise on leaving a gap of about 10-15mm between your cut paths, as this will ensure there is enough gap between the cut paths for our cutting blades.
Occasionally paths will overlap on your file, this is most common when using script or calligraphy style type, it can also occur when two shapes have not been merged. Using Illustrators Pathfinder
tool can eradicate this problem for you in one easy click, simply select the two letters that are overlapping and navigate to Pathfinder > Unite.
This handy tool will merge the paths into one path, ensuring there are no overlapping cuts.
Take note of these useful tips when sending us your cutting files! We can cut anything from large Dibond shapes to small labels!