Multiple Cutouts

How do I take my material and cut out say 50 of the same size rectangles. Need to make nametags but want to make sure there all same size 3x2.5 inches

Lay them out in your vector program at the correct size and to be sure run a test at zero power and full speed on the masking so you don’t even get through that masking and then measure the result. I would use the arrange command in Inkscape and spread them out so there are four x six to fill the 11 x 19.5 with the excess surrounding each one using up the entire panel so two panels gives you 48 pieces.


I tend to make a test file of just one name tag if size is absolutely important. I then cut the single tag out of a test material - or sometimes my final material - and measure. Usually this only applies to things that are critical like kerf adjusted cuts. With name tags I’m not sure I’d bother being that careful, if they’re off by a hundredth or two it probably won’t matter.

Once my test is done I’d layout the grid and then save a cut sheet file and go for it.


Thanks. I’ll give that a try.

Lamar M. Ware

I think you can do 50 in two sheets if you’re really tight on materials. I haven’t tested it but a grid of 3x6 and then a row of 90 degree rotated cards at 1x7. That’s 25, I think it’ll fit :slight_smile:

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I would draw a single line grid instead of rectangles. It would eliminate the little wasted space between every item and save nearly 50% on time.


Our crew finds the safest way to ‘step and repeat’ the same size piece of artwork is to use Imposition software like Quite Imposing Plus which is an add-on to Acrobat Pro. You can adjust space in between each piece with simple presicion and have guaranteed sizing; eliminating guess work. Drag and drop the entire ‘Imposed’ file at 16-up (or whatever) as 1 PDF. :grinning:


Native Inkscape does that well no need for a pro version


super cool @rbtdanforth you are so valuable with such an extensive knowledge base!
we are going to have to take a peek into Inkscape. We were having good results with illustrator but inkscape would be a good addition to the toolbox we thinks. Cheers good friend, thanks always =)

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Beyond that, I would get familiar with Inkscape’s cloning feature. It would allow you to make grids of cloned objects that you could change just by modifying the original path(s).


Noooooooooooooooo waaaaaaaaaayyyyy!!

Yes waaaayyy. I documented how I use it here:

There are lots of ways to use it, different ways to get to similar results. You will no doubt find a workflow that’s right for you.


The clone tool is a bit of a puzzle to figure out how to tweak the numbers and what row and columns refer to but it is an essential time saver for design.

It is how I did the stars on the flag.


That’s why I rarely use the tiled clones for layout and instead make as many clones as I need and then use the arrange tool to lay them out. The tiled clone tool relies on percents which are harder to visualize for me.

That being said if you want to fit the shape to a certain size layout (a full sheet for example) it’ll automatically fit your clones to the desired area, which can be useful.


It finally clicked to me what you did with arrange and clones. That is much simpler for a given space.

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Easy clone too.

  1. Select your original object - it must be a single object or a single group.
  2. Select Edit, Clone, Tiled Clone - depending on your setup you’ll either get a popup window
  3. In the first tab: “symmetry”, select “P1 - Simple Translation”
  4. In the same tab enter rows and columns, easier to guess a number you know is larger than will feet your sheet.
  5. Click the second tab, “shift”
  6. In the Shift X row enter 1 and 0 in row and column
  7. In the Shift Y row enter 0 and 1 in row and column
  8. Hit OK.

And then, remove the top left clone, because you will find your original is underneath it and if you leave it you will get double cuts!!


Case in point:

I really respect people who go deep in Inkscape. I’d just do it in Fusion 360 where the cloning is easy breezy. :smiley:

OK, as a not very familiar with Inkscape or other design files, I’m a copy & paste person, so this is how I’d approach it:

When doing multiples, I try to overlay the lines, or butt up right against each other–why do two cuts when one cut gets the results you want (and saves material)? (though yes, if two lines in the file, the laser will pass over the location twice). After I get the two set up as I want, I then copy the two and paste & line up against those first 2, and then copy the 4, and repeat until I fill out the row/column. And then copy that entire row/column & paste, then after they’re aligned together, copy those 2 c/r & paste etc. until have as many as I need.

If an odd shape, I sometimes rotate one to maximize the “packing”/line butting, but filling out the sheet is done the same way.

Since you probably want rounded corners, or even a shape on one end with the hole, just doing a grid of cuts doesn’t work, so you want to perfect the design and then copy and paste or clone that one to fill out the “sheet” (be sure to save a few different files as you go–the original single shape, then as groups & full page to load to the GFUI–easier to delete an unneeded file later than an “oh, crap” and rebuild it all.

As for the sizing, unless buyers are going to compare each tag to every other, a little variation should not be an issue… Good luck!

And if you’ll be adding any etching to them, etch first, then cut.

And expect some loss, as when you cut it releases tension in the board, and sometimes that can cause the board to shift–since it’s pinned down at the edges, will change how flat it really is on the bed, which can affect quality of some cuts–which i why I also avoid cutting out a lot in any one job–prefer being able to repin the board and add pins in some of the previously cut out areas to pin the center down.


You’ve just answered your question:

If you separate your pieces by even a mm, the structure of the original material isn’t as compromised and you’ll experience a lot less of what you’re describing here. I’d rather sacrifice thin spacer material than have a warped board wreck a lot of work.

Beyond that there are very specific cases where you are being very mindful of corner quality (inlays, for example) where you’ll want the path to be cut in an uninterrupted sweep. Breaking your path to do shared cuts may not work there either.