Using the Natural Grain of Materials

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What is Metal Grain Selection?

Article: Laser cutting all materials, you will notice a grain, or direction of material. This is due to the manufacturing or laminating process at the steel mill, timber growth, plastic extrusion etc. This applies to most / all materials including Acrylic colour or clear, aluminium raw or brushed, metal and all other materials that you can laser cut.

Unless you intend to paint or powder coat a laser cut section, letter or graphic, it is best recommended to set up your laser cut file in one direction only. If you are going to further process or paint the lettering. Let us know, we can nest the file to save production costs and material usage. Otherwise, do not change the grain directions.

This diagram shows how the Australia Signs Design Team would typically setup a file ready for laser cutting that is uncoated. On the left is a nested group of lettering, on the right is an example of reducing the material size BUT deliberately altering the grain direction positions. We take extreme care to balance the cost of your signage with minimising the material usage.

When setting your files ready to suit laser cutting material you can nest the images together allowing a minimum 8mm free space. Do not alter the grain direction of the material UNLESS the finished laser cut letters or shapes will be further processed eg. Powder coated or Brushed etc.

From the image above, the left image of laser cut nesting reduces the overall material usage, it does not reduce the line distance (path length) that will be cut.
The right image shows the possibility of further reducing the material usage...however, the grain embedded into every material has been rotated. This are little details that give you better results.

If this signage was continued, upon installation of the signage, the difference in grain would be slightly noticed. Australia Signs recommend not changing the material grain unless further processing is chosen. Eg: Painting or overlaying with a second layer of cut outs.

IMPORTANT TIP: WHEN CUTTING TIMBER LOGO OR LETTERING... AVOID ALL NESTING SO THAT THE NATURAL GRAIN IN THE TIMBER'S GROWTH PATTERN IS CONSISTENT WITH THE SIGNAGE. We also recommend that the accurate letter spacing is also included so that when the timber letters are installed on the wall, the grain appears natural from letter to letter.

Click to load a short movie that shows the workshop in action.

Favorite 1.6mm Stainless Sheet Watch the sparks fly as this material is blast cut with the laser.

New! The Excited Atom, Watch the intensified atoms being super charged.

Watch our production team at work. Laser cut plastic and Poly Weld Video.
Movie Size 3mb 59 sec
Movie Size 2mb 32 Sec
Movie Size 3mb 52 sec


CNC laser cutting is a process that uses an intense laser beam to cut part shapes out of sheet material. The parts remain flat because the heat distortion is minimal.

CO 2laser cutting is a process that uses carbon dioxide as the main lasing medium. CO 2 lasers use a mixture of gases such as helium and nitrogen, with CO 2 being the most predominant to create a cut quality similar to that of milled edges of mild steels and can operate in continuous wave (CW) or pulses.

Evaporative laser cutting is the process of ablating target materials, typically low vaporization temperature and low thermal conduction materials, through direct vaporization.

See some of the finished works at the Laser Gallery



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