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Is it possible to laser cut a bitmap image or does it have to be a vector file?
 

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It needs to be a vector file for cutting.  The reason is that a vector file defines a path that the laser can follow.  A bitmap is a type of raster file and is just made up of pixels, so all the laser can do is go back and forth over the image and engrave based on the intensity of the pixel for that location.  If you need to cut out a shape that's in a bitmap, it's possible to do a trace of the bitmap and create a vector from it.
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