File Format & Software Selection
At PPD Ltd. we use 3 main programmes to edit and process artwork, Corel, Adobe Illustrator and AutoCAD.
If you have access to one of these programmes please send us your artwork in the native software format, .cdr for Corel, dwg for AutoCAD, ai for Adobe Illustrator, if you are using an alternative package please send in one of the following formats: -
dxf / dgn / eps / pdf (*)
* The pdf must be of a vector format.
Filetype & The Etching Process
The quality of the finished etched part is directly linked to the quality of the original artwork, a poor quality scan or raster type image will ultimately result in a poor quality etched part. We recommend that artwork is created as a vector file and all raster type files are avoided.
(*) The .PDF must be generated from a vector format file.
All drawings should be sent to us at actual size, with a measure bar for reference, this will prevent any errors that may occur when importing into our editing packages.
If your order contains multiple copies of parts, please send us one off each part with a note of the minimum quantity required for each, our CAD technicians will array the parts within an efficient sheet layout appropriate for the metal type and thickness requested.
For laser cut parts, artwork should be supplied as an outline as per the example below:-
For laser cutting, the remaining metal and/or holes through the metal can 50% of metal thickness selected, for example a 1mm hole can be cut on metal up to a thickness of 2 mm, the smallest hole/metal is not related to the type of metal only the thickness of the metal.
(Note: Please contact us if you have a design that requires a hole that is less that 50% of the metal thickness, for some designs this is possible, however dimensional stability is not guaranteed below 50%)
For parts that are to be etched, the artwork should be supplied as Image 3, Image 1 and 2 show the etched part from this artwork, with image 1 showing the front and image 2 showing the back of the part.
Image 1 Image 2 Image 3
You'll see that image 3 shows the different aspects of the etch represented in different colours, the colours themselves are not critical but please ensure that the different parts are allocated different layers on the drawing, the usual terminology would be:
Full Thickness (On image 3 this is black)
Full etch (Hole) (On image 3 this is the 'void' areas in white)
Halfetch /surface etch on the front (On image 3 this is red)
Halfetch/surface etch on the back (On image 3 this is blue)
Take a look at our PDF below 'Artwork Example (Etching)' for further advice on the preparation of artwork for etching.
For parts manufactured using the etching process, there is a direct link between the finest detail in the drawing and the maximum thickness of metal that may be used. Take a look at the PDF's below for further explanation.