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Laser Cutting

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Laser cutting is a process that uses a laser beam to cut or engrave materials. The machine is computer-driven, based on design data generated by the user. Industrially, powerful lasers can cut thick metals. In the Product Realization Lab, our lower powered machines are designed to work with thin plastics, woods, and paper materials.

Complex 3D forms can be assembled from flat-pattern designs. Many students use SolidWorks and Adobe Illustrator to generate design data.

Machine Specifications

  Universal VLS 4.60 and PLS 6.120
Location Room 36, Huang Engineering Center & Machining Lab, Bldg 610
Material Size(s) 18" x 24", 18" x 32"
Power 60W, 120W
Materials Duron, thin woods, acrylic, cardboard and paper materials (see below for more details)
Operation in the PRL Runs from Adobe Illustrator. Files require specific line formatting.
Tutorial Documents Using the Laser cutters in Room 36
Getting Started with Illustrator
Troubleshooting file issues

Materials

Room 36 laser cutters can handle a wider variety of materials than the LaserCAMM. Samples of the following allowed materials are available in Room 36:

  • Acrylic (mirrored, textured/frosted, opaque, transparent)
  • Duron
  • Some Hardwoods (Black Cherry, Pine, Poplar, Walnut, Ash, Maple, Basswood)
  • High-quality Birch plywood
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Felt
  • Matboard
  • Chipboard
  • Silicone
  • Cork
  • Various papers
  • Foam core
  • Cotton fabric
  • Anodized Aluminum (etching only!)

The following materials are NOT allowed on Room 36 laser cutters:

  • Any hardwoods NOT explicitly listed above
  • Polycarbonate
  • PTFE
  • Delrin
  • Carbon fiber
  • Transparency sheets
  • Camera gels
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE, etc...)
  • Styrene
  • Laser-engravable rubber stamp material

See a TA if your material is not listed!! Do NOT assume that it is allowed.

Demo Files

Get Started - T-Rex

Tabbed Construction - Basic Basswood Box

Kerf Cutting - Teeny Lamp

Pattern of slits allows a flat sheet of material to bend
Captured nuts with screws hold components together so that they can be disassembled easily.