ULS Blog

What is the Difference Between Raster and Vector Motions?

Raster Image
December 2017

When processing a design file there are two distinct ways the laser system handles different elements of the design. Raster motion (overlapping left-to-right/right-to-left movement of the optics carriage) is used for laser engraving, marking, and photo imaging.

ULS laser system control software parses design files for bitmap images, text, and filled areas, and interprets these elements as raster objects. It then automatically calculates raster processing patterns for the laser system. Overlapping left-to-right/right-to-left motion creates a filled rectangle, shown below:

Red Square Image

Vector motion is used for laser cutting, scoring, and some marking. In these cases the laser system’s X-Y axis motion system simultaneously moves in two dimensions along the path to match the shape being processed.

Vector Samples

The ULS laser system control software parses design files and interprets thin lines as vector objects. It then calculates 2D vector paths for the laser cutting, engraving, and marking machine.