Laser Cutting Stencils

bannerimage

At Make Mode, we make a lot of custom, laser cut stencils for our clients. If you are interested in creating a custom stencil, here is a guide on the best practices and methods for designing and developing a stencil.

Begin your Laser Cutting Project

Materials and Uses

Although, many materials can be used for creating stencils, we typically use two of our stock materials for this applications.

7.5 mil Mylar (.0075” thickness)

polypropolenesheet

Thinnest material available.
Resuable
Suitable for rolling, brushing, and spray painting applications
Mylar sheet gets less usage than polypropolene, but is better for detailed stencils.
flexible/ bendable/ lays flat

Polypropolene

mylarimage
Thicker material
Resuable
Suitable for aerosol and spray painting applications
Can get more usage than 7.5 mil mylar
heavier duty material used for stencils with less detail.
flexible yet rigid/ lays flat

File Setup

island100Islands: These are interior parts of the stencil. When the edges are cut, the middle of the letter will have nothing to hold on to and will be lost.

bridge100bridges: These are what connects the “island” to the rest of the stencil. Unless using a font which already is stencil ready, these are added manually.

Stenciling Text:

Incorrect: although the text appears correct on a computer screen, once all the edges are cut, the stencil result is different. Specifically, the “A” and the “P” have islands within the letters, which are lost when the material is cut.

incorrectsamplevector-400

sampletext2-400

Correct: after “bridges” are added, the stencils result more closely resembles the original text. This way, the stencil physically stays intact and the end result is much closer to the original intention.

correctsamplevector-400

stencilesample-400

Editable Text Vs. Outlines

When sending text to stencil, the text must be vector outlines rather than editable text.
We do not have every font installed on our computers,
so sometimes we can’t open editable text. To learn more about creating vector files click here.

Incorrect: Sometimes text is sent to us in a non-standard font. These must be changed from editable text to outlines.
editabletext-400

Correct: Converting editable text to vector outlines is crucial for creating a laser-ready file.
vectoroutlines-400

Stenciling Images

The same principle applies to images as it does text. When you create a laser cutting file for stenciling, it is best practice to ensure that there are no enclosed interior spaces in your file, or else as the laser cutter traces the path of the stencil, the entire enclosed area will fall away as shown in the text examples above. See below how internal areas are removed for the laser cutting process.

Incorrect: This stencil will fall apart and not work

Correct: Bridges added for integrity of the stencil.

Incorrect: This stencil will fall apart and not work.

Correct: Bridges added for integrity of the stencil.

manraster-400

scissorsblack-400

manvector-400

scissorsvector-400

Examples

Wall Stencils

wallstencil-400

T-Shirt Stencils

shirtstencil-400

Cake Stencils

weddingstencil-400

Mason Jar Stencils

masonjarstencil-400

Begin your Stencil Project