Centre for Applied Research of the Faculty on Digital Media & Creative Industries

Laser cutter

Cutting with light!

A laser cutter can be used to cut materials such as cardboard, cotton, wood and Plexiglas® extremely accurately. The machine cuts wood, for instance, so precisely that separate parts can then be joined ‘dry’, without the need for glue or screws. Besides cutting, a laser cutter can also be used to engrave images, texts and logos onto almost any material.

Cutting process with laser

Using a lasercutter for cutting or engraving you need a ‘vector diagram’ created with a 2D drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD, Inkscape or CorelDRAW. Engraving is done inside a framework of closed lines, so if you just want to engrave something, a JPG image will suffice. (See the Illustrator guide.) Besides the .ai files generated by Illustrator you can also import .dxf files, as generated by AutoCAD (see the AutoCAD guide).

Do you want to laser cut? The Makerslab has six lasers at its disposal. You can make a reservation for some lasers. You can use the other without a reservation. First come, first served.... Want to be sure there is a laser available for you? Then make a reservation using the online reservation system. To do so, create an account using your HvA e-mail address. (not your HvA-ID).
One of the employees will instruct you on how to operate the laser. This will take about 20 minutes.

The laser engraving process ‘damages’ the surface of the material by burning into it with a pre-determined intensity. This is quite a slow process; first you have to do tests to find out what intensity to use, and then the laser goes to work, in steps, within the contours of the drawing. When large areas are engraved the results are generally not of constant quality.

  • You can bring your own materials or use the lab's limited stock.
  • For outlets, see the Materials page.

  • Maximum cutting dimensions

    • Laser 1: 98 x 158 cm

    • Laser 2: 88 x 128 cm

    • Laser 3: 98 x 158 cm

    • Laser 4: 88 x 128 cm

    • Laser 5: 88 x 128 cm

    • Laser 6: 88 x 128 cm

    Maximum material thickness to be cut

    • Plexiglass 8 mm
    • MDF 8 mm
    • Soft plywood 9 mm
    • Hard plywood 6 mm

    Cutting metal, glass, ceramics and stone is not possible.
    PVC, PVC-containing materials and fur are not permitted.

    Maximum engraving dimensions

    • Laser 1: 80 x 1400 cm

    • Laser 2: 70 x 110 cm

    • Laser 3: 80 x 1400 cm

    • Laser 4: 70 x 110

    • Laser 5: 70 x 110

    • Laser 6: 70 x 110

Published by  Centre for Applied Research FDMCI 4 December 2023