When you upload a design to your Personal Factory, our online making system will automatically check the file to make sure it fits with the digital making 'rules'. The rules are simply about giving clear instructions to the fabricator so you get exactly what you want.
We suggest you check over your design as thoroughly as possible before uploading it. This should help avoid the need for troubleshooting afterwards. See our video tutorial for how to self check your designs (using Adobe Illustrator).
But, if you do miss something, don't worry. The good news is, our making system can usually detect the specific cause of the problem and show you an error message that will point you in the right direction.
If there are a number of errors in your design, each error will be detected and reported one at a time – so you may have to make adjustments to your file and upload it a number of times.
Here are the things you should check before uploading a design:
You cannot upload more than one design file with the same name as part of the same order.
If you want to make your design from a single material multiple times, change the number in the quantity box beside your file name.
If you want to make your design from more than one material, just duplicate your original file and give each copy a different name. We recommend ending the filename with the type of material you want applied to it – such as "mydesign_blackfelt.eps" + "mydesign_redfelt.eps", etc.
All text in your design needs to be converted to outlines (Illustrator), paths (Inkscape) or curves (CorelDRAW).
The way to do this depends on your design package. Generally, you select the pieces of text which need to be turned into vectors, and use the 'Convert to outlines/paths/curves' command.
It's easy to check whether your text has been converted. Click on any letter using the 'Direct select' tool and you'll see the vector lines and anchors around it. If you don't see these, the text still needs to be converted.
Any images you have imported or placed into your file must be converted into:
vector lines and fills for laser cutting
The functions for doing this are different in each design package. Plus, you can choose from a number of settings to achieve different results. You may want to try a few variations until you get the look you want.
In Illustrator, select the image and use the 'Live trace' command.
In Inkscape and CorelDRAW, select the image and use the 'Trace bitmap' command.
The fill colors you use within shapes can only be a solid fill either of black or an even shade of gray.
Go through your design and check all your fills are solid black or gray. You can achieve this by using the grayscale color palette, or by making sure your RGB values are consistent (such as R:128, G:128, B:128 or R:230, G:230, B:230, etc).
You can use blue, red, green or magenta in the stroke color of your shape – thereby cutting or using vector engraving around the outside of it – but you cannot use these colors for the fill.
One more thing to check. You cannot use patterned or gradient fills in your shapes – only solid fills of black or a single shade of gray. You can create a patterned or gradient effect by using a series of block sections in different single shades.
Our system will ignore your cutting and/or vector engraving lines if the stroke weight is too thick. We recommend a width of 0.01mm for all files from all design packages.
Check your cutting and/or vector engraving lines are set to the recommended weights.
In Illustrator, you'll need to click inside the 'Stroke weight' field and type in ‘0.01mm’ – including the 'mm' for millimeters, then press enter.
In Inkscape, you'll need to select millimeters ('mm') in the dropdown menu beside the weight field.
In CorelDRAW, you'll need to click inside the ‘Width' field and type in ‘0.01mm’ – including the 'mm' for millimeters, then press enter.
If all your lines appear correct, you could have a problem with leftover 'anchors' from deleted lines. These can affect the outcome of your design even if they are not visible in 'Preview' mode. Here's what to do:
Change your 'View' to 'Outline' in your software package. Any leftover anchors will appear as small ‘Xs’.
Click on the Xs with the 'Direct select' tool and remove them.
Lines (created with the line tool in your design package) can have stroke colors, but not fill colors. This can be quite a difficult error to spot.
Look carefully through any elements in your design with both a raster fill and a vector outline. Try to spot any lines which may have accidentally been selected and given a fill as well. Once you find them, remove the fill color.