Possible ways of incorporating the laser cutter with TEXTILES
These dresses are an example of the possible integration of the laser cutter with fashion. The dresses were designed and made by fashion guru Mark Liu. The image on the left shows the process, which involved laser cutting out the ¿leaf like¿ patterns, then piecing them together to create the garment.
When laser cutting textiles it¿s most common for textiles contain natural fibres to scorch, whilst synthetic fibres will probably melt first, before burning. The outcome of your etching or cut design is largely impacted by the fibre content, weave structure and finishing treatments of the material being used. How complex your design is also has quite an impact.
- quality of cut
- speed of processing
- flexibility of design.
- Cutting detailed shapes on fine, weakly woven fabric will cause the textile to weaken further, leading to disintegration.
Because fabric is so expensive it¿s good to know how different types of textiles will react under the laser cutter.
Some materials, particularly natural fabrics such as cottons and linens scorch easily and show evidence of charring. When not desired as part of a design, this may be reduced by optimizing the operating parameters.
Generally the laser processing software allows the following operating
Parameters to be controlled:
· Power – the higher the power the quicker a material will burn. As an
example, fine fabrics such as organza require a low processing power
where as heavy canvas needs a higher power setting for cutting.
· Speed of processing – depending on the system being used, the laser
beam will move over the material being processed or the beam will
remain in a fixed position and the bed on which the material is placed,
will move. If the speed of movement is slow, the beam will remain in
contact with the material for longer. Fine fabric needs a fast processing
These techniques may help to avoid charring, Melting, or any kind of disintegration of the material:
· Placing cartridge paper between the fabric and the laser bed during cutting.
This actually reduces the amount of scoring/ charring.
· To reduce the rippling of the fabric, it pays to iron it first. Then once putting it on to the laser cutting bed fix the edges with masking tape, this should stop the material from bunching, which leads to loss of detail.
· Cut your designs in a way that highly detailed adjacent shapes are not processed sequentially. This leads to one area of the fabric heating up, causing melting or disintegration.
Key points to remember
· Weakly woven fabric will cause the textile to weaken further, leading to disintegration.
· Natural fibers scorch, Synthetic fibers melt first then burn.
· Fine fabrics need a fast processing speed
So consider the structure of your chosen textile, and adjust the power and speed of processing, to obtain a successful result*.*
* Always remember to test your material before the final cut!