Tips, materials and troubleshooting
- Students are only permitted to use the laser cutter with APPROVED materials
- The Digital Lab provides recommended power and speed settings that serve as a starting point for laser cutting your material, these settings can be adjusted to achieve the intended results
|Hard Woods (Recommended) |
|1/4"||Charring may occur, Avoid oily/resinous woods||Oily and resinous woods will catch fire|
|Plywood||1/8"||Charring will occur, plywood contains glue and may be more difficult to cut, we recommend using a hard wood if possible|
|Standard Thickness||Cuts very nicely and very quickly||Slight edge discoloration may occur if settings are too high|
|Cardboard||2-ply||Cuts nicely, but easily catches on fire under slow speeds or high power settings||Watch for fire|
|Natural Cork (NOT engineered cork)||1/4"||Quality of the cuts depend on the quality of the cork, thick cork will char and burn||Watch for burning/charring|
|1/4"||Cuts extremely well, with nice clean edges||ANY clear or plastic protective covering must be removed before cutting|
|Styrene Sheets||1/16"||Smokes severely when cut, laser cutter lens easily gets dirty and will need to be cleaned when finished and cooled||Chars and burns when speed is too slow or power is too high|
|"PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)|
Pleather (Artificial Leather)"
|Emits pure chlorine gas when etched or cut! Damages the laser cutter||DO NOT cut this material!! It will ruin the optics of the laser cutters, cause the metal of the machine to corrode and ruin the motion control system. It is severely damaged to our equipment.|
|Catches fire, does not cut!||Often found as a flat, sheet material, Polycarbonate strongly absorbs infrared radiation. It is very ineffective in etching/cutting and discolors the material.|
HDPE (milk bottle plastic)
|Emits CYANIDE gas, catches fire and melts!||It melts rather than vaporizes and easily catches on fire, leaving behind a melted gooey deposit that is especially difficult to remove from the honeycomb grid. It does not engrave well.|
|Catches fire immediately!||It catches fire, melts and does not easily cut, this material will melt into drops of burning fire and turn to rock hard drips and pebbles in the laser cutter bed. Do not etch or cut.|
|Fiberglass||Emits toxic fumes!||It's a mix of two materials that can't be cut. Glass and epoxy resin|
|Emits noxious fumes||The material will simply not cut|
|MDF / OSB / Engineered Wood||High amounts of charring, difficult to cut|
If you receive an error message when attempting to send your file to the laser cutter indicating that no information was sent then you may need to check the following:
- Ensure your line weights are at 0.00 (AutoCad), 0.001 (Illustrator) for vector lines
- Ensure the colors of the lines are the standard color options (AutoCad)
- Ensure all of the lines/images are at 100% opacity (Illustrator)
- Ungroup, release and explode any groups, blocks or compound paths
Policies, terms and conditions
If the student has not arrived within 15 minutes of their reserved session then the session and collected monies will be forfeited.
Laser cutter operation
- Students should come to the laser cutter ready to cut. The laser cutter workstation is not a place to make extensive changes to your files.
- Students MUST be actively watching the laser cutter at ALL times, due to the fact that your material may catch on fire.
- Small flames are to be expected
- If your material catches fire and remains on fire you must immediately stop the laser cutter using the main power switch and notify a Lab Assistant.
- After your part is completed, keep the lid of the laser cutter closed for 10 seconds to allow smoke or vapors to be vented.
- Clean up your workstation when you are finished. You may not leave materials of any kind in or around the laser cutter.
- Please place all recyclable materials in the recycling bins in the Digital Lab