The fold line or folding line is mainly known from the plotter area. It is used to make manual folding of thin materials along certain lines easier. The Mr Beam is also perfect for using fold lines in your projects. In this tutorial, we'll show you how it works and what to look out for.
1. Types of fold lines
Basically, there are two different types of fold lines, both of which can be implemented with the Mr Beam. Which variant you use is largely a matter of taste.
- Solid fold line: In the first method, the whole line is lasered. However, it is not completely cut through but rather engraved. Of course, this method does not work with materials that are too thin. Paper, for example, should have a thickness of at least 200g/m².
- Perforated fold line: In the case of the Mr Beam, perforation means nothing more than lasering the line in dashed lines. This means that the entire length of the line is not cut, but only individual strokes so that the object does not fall apart. When folding, the material automatically orients itself to the small cuts.
2. Create fold lines
Both fold lines can be created using a graphics program of your choice. You must pay attention to the following things.
1. Solid fold line
- Create a path where the line will be lasered.
- It is important that you assign a different color to the path than to the rest of the cut file. This way you can choose other laser settings for it later.
- In addition, a distinction must be made between valley and mountain folds in the case of continuous fold lines. In the case of a valley fold, the fold line is folded inwards so that it is no longer visible. The mountain fold is folded the other way around. So if you have two different fold directions within one laser file, it is not possible to hide all fold lines. For better orientation, you can also save the mountain and valley folds in different colors.
Mountain fold (here blue) and valley fold (here red) within a design
Tip: If you want to do it quickly, you can also create these fold lines in the Mr Beam software with the line quickshapes.
2. Perforated fold line
- Unfortunately, creating a dashed line in the graphics program does not work because the path is solid anyway.
- Instead you have to cut the line yourself. Use the Scissors tool if available in your graphics program.
- Alternatively, you can create several small, single lines.
- Wichtig ist dabei immer, dass du an den äußeren Kanten des Designs keine Pfade bzw. Schnitte platzierst. Ansonsten kann das Material an diesen Stellen einreißen oder abknicken. It is always important that you do not place any paths or cuts on the outer edges of the design. Otherwise the material can tear or snap off at these points.
3. Laser fold lines
- Solid fold lines: Open a second settings block for this. This allows you to make your own settings for the fold lines. Depending on the thickness of the material, you will have to reduce the laser intensity considerably and, if necessary, also increase the speed.
Tip: Always test these laser settings before starting the main laser job to avoid wasting the entire workpiece.
- Perforated fold lines: There is nothing special to consider when laser cutting perforated fold lines. You can simply have them cut in the same pass as the rest of the design.
With these steps, you should be able to transform any paper into a beautiful new shape. Feel free to show us and the community your results using the hashtag #madewithmrbeam!