What Is A Vector File?
English people read in English, French people read in French, and laser engraving machines read vector files. When you upload a vector file into your laser engraving software, you’re giving it information in a format that it can understand, one that contains all of the required information for it to create a reproduction of your design file.
Understanding the function of vector files begins with a basic understanding of how laser engravers work. A laser engraving machine consists of three essential parts: the laser (EM-Smart One or Basic), the controller (JCZ laser controller board), and the surface (Material). The controller has the buttons that allow you to change settings and program the machine, the laser does the engraving, and the surface is a flat area where your material goes to be engraved — this is where the magic happens.
In vector files, the image is made up of points connected by lines. Vector files include .ai, .eps, .svg, .bw, .cdr, .col, .dwg, .dxb, .dxf, .wmf, and so on. Vector files allow us to scale a file without compromising its integrity, as well as change it. Vector files provide the laser with the direct pathways it needs to cut or engrave.
How to Create Vector Files for Laser Engraving?
There are numerous free and commercial software available for creating vector files for laser engraving. Here are the top five:
Adobe Illustrator — Adobe Illustrator supports the EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file format, which is the most widely used vector picture format. One of the advantages of utilizing this tool is that it is not resolution dependant, which means you will obtain a better print result by using it. Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard since it works with practically all operating systems and eliminates the need to select between PC and Mac. Adobe Illustrator offers excellent support for reading and writing EPS files, and it works well with other Adobe products such as Flash and Photoshop.
SVG Edit — If you work with vector files, you’ll hear the acronym SVG a lot. SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics, and it’s a special type of file format whose name explains exactly what it can do. SVG-Edit is a web-based program that allows you to create and edit vector files with a comprehensive set of image-editing tools. SVG-Edit is completely free, and its in-browser capabilities eliminate the need to install any additional software on your computer.
Vectr — Vectr, like SVG Edit, is a browser-based application with a simple and intuitive user interface that allows you to generate and edit vector files using basic image manipulation tools. The program runs fast on any computer, and its minimal feature set makes it an excellent choice for quick tweaks and designs. The program is available for download on Windows, Mac, and Linux if you prefer to run it from your own computer.
Corel Draw — Corel Draw is a powerful graphic design program that does a lot more than just create and edit vector files. You may use it to create website layouts, manage fonts, edit photos, and more. This is a commercial program that you must install on your own computer, and it, like most full-suite graphic design products, may be taxing on older machines. Before purchasing Corel Draw, double-check your machine’s specs. You could have trouble getting the software to work if your video card isn’t powerful enough to generate high-resolution photos quickly. For dedicated artists with good computer skills, Corel Draw is one of the best vector design solutions.
FatPaint — Fat Paint is a specialized web application for producing logos, vector drawings, and raster images for use with laser engraving machines. It runs in your browser and is ideal for modest editing jobs without a lot of functionality. Fat Paint stands out from other editors by providing a unique interface for adding three-dimensional text to your creations, but its limited feature set, like that of other browser-based apps, limits its utility to short projects and modifications.
Inkscape — On this list, Inkscape is perhaps the best cross-platform vector editor. Inkscape is a free, open-source graphic design program for Windows, Mac, and Linux that combines the powerful feature set of a professional graphic design product like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, but without the cost. Many professional designers choose Inkscape as their vector editor of choice because it provides nearly unlimited image editing possibilities, such as layering, grouping, exporting vector files from bitmap pictures, and more.
If you’re not sure which vector editor to use, we’d recommend just picking one whose features match your level of expertise in graphics design and cover the needs of your project. There’s also a budget to think about, and while most of these options are free, a couple of them will have you shell out a few bucks for the software.
11,000+ Free Vector Files for Download
Also, you can try those free online services by Googling keywords like “free vector” or “free SVG”, etc. There are quite some websites that provide such resources, some are free while some are paid services.
However, the main purpose I am writing this article is not just to introduce the above software, but also to provide a direct way to get 11,000+ free vector files, all categorized and beautiful, open-source, and based on Creative Commons, which contains 30 categories of 191 sub-categories, nearly 11,000 vector files in total.
You are no longer wasting time on the seeking or editing of vector files. Focus all yourself on the laser marking or engraving or cutting from now on.
How to download?
Simple but important: sign up at www.3plasers.com and a download link will be sent to your email within twenty-four hours. If you did sign up but did not receive the download link, please pm me on Facebook.