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  • georgie h

Laser Cutting Research

Image of a laser cutter machine

As it has been a while since I last used a laser cutter/made files for using one, before starting designing my files to be sent to be laser cut. Below are the notes that I have taken for this:

Cutting Settings:

  • stroke width to 0.01mm

  • fill to none

  • Position things as top left as possible to save space and material.

Engraving Settings:

  • either by settings the stroke width to > 0.01

  • or by setting the fill to a solid colour.

  • Images must be monochrome

Some of the suggested materials I am considering using include:

Corrugated cardboard - very fast and cheap, incredibly useful for prototyping, but may well work in final designs. I am considering using corrugated cardboard for the final outcome as well as in prototyping, the texture that this creates adds a feeling of homeliness yet also speaks to the number of deliveries we've received throughout our shielding.

Wood / Plywood / MDF - cutting sheets more than 3mm thick leaves heavily charred edge. Alternatively I think that using Plywood is a good alternative, it is much stronger and would mean that the piece would be more durable.

Acrylic - ideal material for laser cutting. I have considered acrylic as a stylistic choice, however this option is one I am less likely to use.

Ensure the file is a vector file for the cutting, engraving can be bitmap however to avoid confusion stick to creating a vector file.

Masking - I personally quite like the smoke effect and would not mind it being unmasked. The burnt aspect adds some depth to the colors. Trial this.

Test cuts on cardboard - this can help create a prototype


1. Controlling the order of cuts. Your laser should have some options to determine the order in which lines are cut but one way for you to control that is to put different cuts on separate layers on to turn the print of each layer on and off in the order you want.

2. Have multiple parts and designs in one file. Rather than having a separate files for each design, just put them all in one file and put them individual layers. Then just print the layers one at a time. Helps keep things organized.

3. Creating guides. You might need to create some guides for laying out out your design or maybe you'll need a target to place an object in. If you don't want these to print put them on their own layer and turn off the printing of that layer.

Wood burns differently, exposing darker and brighter smoke marks - zebra pattern engraving.

Next Steps:

+ Going forward my next steps ill be to create a prototype of one of the window views, I am planning on working on basing this on the simplest view so that I can work out the logistics of the other views.

+ Break down buildings individually so they can be put in place to create depth in the scene.

Mini Deadline:

+ Produce a design and send this to the Hatchlab by next week.

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