Picture of Color Mapping for Laser Cutting @ TechShop
Purpose: vector cut multiple depths in a single file

Tools: CorelDRAW X5, EPILOG laser cutter

Also known as pen tables, setting up color mapping can reduce cut time and just make life easier by running one job instead of two or three (and potentially mixing up your settings).  This is especially useful for projects where you wish to scribe a surface in order to line up another piece, and rastering would be a waste of your time.

For example, if you want to make a topographical map, set a chosen contour line to red and give red a value to cut all the way through your material.  Set the next contour above this to blue and give blue a value that would barely cut the surface.  Set the third contour up to red again.  Repeat this process for each contour and you will get minimal strips (saving material) and provide a guideline for lining up the next piece (maintain consistency and remove guesswork).  This is made possible through utilization of the Color Mapping function.

Step 1: Open

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To start, open a new Corel file and set “Primary color mode” to “RGB”.  Might seem simple, but running through this whole process in “CMYK” only to be unsuccessful is less than fun (trust me).

Step 2: Applying Color

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Import your work and select the vector lines you wish to assign a cut value.  In the lower right corner, double-click the square next to the pen icon.  From the new “Outline Pen” window, select a color from the drop menu – a basic primary color will work best.  Click “OK” and ensure that the colored box in the lower right corner is properly registered as RGB (instead of CMYK).

Step 3: Oops

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In the event you messed up one or both of the previous steps, fear not!  While correcting a mistake might burn time, it is doable.  Go back into the “Outline Pen” window and the color drop menu.  Instead of selecting a color, click “Other”.  In here change the “Palette” drop menu from <what it shouldn't be> to “RGB palette”.  You are now back on track without starting completely over.
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unclesam882 years ago
The laser that engraves and cuts is actually invisible. The red dot just tells you the position of the laser.
TheITSystem2 years ago
Ha, it would have been really cool if the dot was actually able to change colors to show which color mapping it was currently using.

It doesn't do that right?
Robot Lover2 years ago
It is cool.