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File format, cutting holes, and acrylic questions


I’m getting ready to send you my files to have some laser cutting done in acrylic sheet and I have a few questions:

I use TurboCAD 12 professional and it appears you use TC 11 pro. Do you know if you’ll have any problems using my files?

Are you able to cut 1/8" holes in 3/8" acrylic?

Is it better for me to try to use a whole sheet of acrylic at a time? And should I lay out the parts myself, or just give you each design and quantity, and just have you do it (trusting to your greater experience)?




Thank you for your interest in our laser cutting. Here are answers to your questions:

  • Yes, we do use TurboCAD pro version 11. Please save your TCW file to be compatible with version 11 (there is probably a drop-down on the right side of the save/saveas window) and also as a DXF (make sure to select the option for making it compatible with AutoCAD version 2004; earlier AutoCAD versions should also work fine). Please submit both file formats in your quote request at https://www.pololu.com/laserquote/new and explain in the “Special Instructions” field that the two files are the same. (Depending on the file, one format might work better than the other.)

  • If you include a 1/8" hole in a file to be cut from 3/8" acrylic, there will definitely be a hole piercing the acrylic, but the hole probably will not look perfectly circular, and since the laser beam is a cone shape (because it gets focused from a larger spot to a fine point), the hole will be bigger on the top side by bit. Also, please note that our stocked 3/8" acrylic is actually 9mm + or - 10% (thickness can vary even within the same sheet).

  • We generally charge for material by the square foot (we might round to some fraction of a square foot depending on the situation) so you shouldn’t worry too much about using up a certain sheet size. However, there are standard layout areas to consider (see below).

  • If you only have a few parts and you need many copies of them, then it is better for us to lay the parts out. If you have many different parts, we prefer if you lay them out, and you should use one of the following layout areas (leave yourself a 3/8" border if your parts will be cut from 3/8" acrylic): 12" x 12", 12" x 24", 12" x 36", 24" x 24", or 24" x 36". If possible, it is better to do multiples of smaller layout areas since it gives us more options for what sheet size to use (doing three layouts of 12" x 12" is better than a single 12" x 36" layout).

If you haven’t already, you might want to read the following on our site:

I hope that helps!

- Candice


Just wanted to let you know, I got my parts and I’m very pleased. The results are even better than expected and they arrived on schedule. Thanks!!