What is Laser Cutting?
“Laser” is an acronym for light amplification. A C02 laser cutter precisely focuses a beam which melts or burns through the material it focuses on. Lasers have been used in Industry for years and are just becoming accessible to a wider audience and starting to be used in schools and colleges.
The laser cuts or etches, with speed and precision, by reading digital files, either vector files (linear), raster images (photographic), or a combination of both. Images are sent to the laser cutter from a computer in much the same way as we send an image to a printer, but the material to be cut lies flat on the laser bed and the laser moves above it, as in the image opposite. This means the size of the laser bed is important and will determine the size of material you can work on.
The laser will output the image according to individual settings for the particular image and materials being worked with, so there is always a small amount of proofing time required. It can take a while to get to know the laser cutter and understand how to get the best results from it. I provide training on how to do this or a bespoke cutting or editioning service where the technical side is taken care of for you.
It is possible to generate your files digitally, or to convert hand rendered imagery into digital files the laser cutter can read. It is also possible to cut or etch from photographs. I run training courses which include how to prepare your files for laser cutting.
Notes for Architects and Students on Saving Autocad files for Laser Cutting
Notes for Architects and Students on Saving Autocad files for Laser Cutting
Cutting lines as RED
Engraving lines as GREEN
No Cut lines as BLUE
Create a VECTOR BOX the same size as the material and assign it to NO CUT
Prepare a new file for each material you would like to cut and label the file with YOUR INITIALS and the TYPE and THICKNESS of material you will be providing. Please bring your laptop with AutoCad with you, in case any problems opening files,as I don’t have AutoCad software in the studio. Please also bring 10% extra materials, just in case.
SAVING FILES FROM AUTOCAD
- Download CUTE PDF WRITER, a free Plug-in
- In AUTOCAD, go to PRINT
- Choose Cute PDF Writer
- Choose a sheet size bigger than your vector files and materials outline box
- Save Scale 1:1
- In the Drop down menu with the default DISPLAY, change to WINDOW
- Drag a window over the whole of your vector files and material outline box
- Save as PDF
Is this the right place for my laser cutting requirements?
I specialise in the creative us of laser cutting, mainly teaching training courses and working with people who are interested in learning how to create files and work the laser cutter. Course participants often come back and work the laser cutter themselves to create their work, or find the knowledge they gain helps them to develop a better relationship with companies who do commercial bureau cutting.
The Courses are also a great idea if you are thinking of buying a laser cutter, or have one at your School, College or University.
I also provide a vector file preparation service and edition limited edition prints for artists and laser cut one off artworks for artists and makers, including laser cut printing plates for artwork.
If you are interested in any of the above and have an unusual project they would benefit form my specialist knowledge in this area, please get in touch. If you are looking to repeatedly cut something as cheaply as possible, there may be other places more appropriate for your requirements. I am sometimes able to undertake a straight forward laser cutting job, quite promptly, if the file and materials are provided, but it is not the main focus at the Studio.
What size and thickness of materials do you cut?
We have a CO2 laser cutter which cuts paper, card, fabric, wood and acrylic to a thickness of 10mm and will etch all of these materials and also etch onto materials such as glass, slate and acrylic. Please not a C02 laser cutter will not cut metal and I am unable to recommend anywhere that can.
We have a flat bed Laser Cutter with a bed size that cuts materials up to 1400 x 950 mm in size and up to 10mm thick on most materials, 6 mm thick for Plywood
All equipment meets European Health and Safety at Work Regulations
How much does it cost?
Please see Courses page for cost of the Courses and Taster sessions.
Other costs are project specific. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss an idea.
It generally costs around £1 a minute. Costings by time can be misleading, as they depend on the quality of the machine and the knowledge of the person using it. I have a good quality laser cutting machine and a lot of experience using it, enabling me to obtain the best quality results possible at a reasonable price.
How much do I need to know about digital imaging to do a course?
No technical knowledge is assumed for the course, it is aimed at complete beginners. Any knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator or any other vector software will help, but is not essential.
The small groups mean there is plenty of time and space for everyone to learn at their own pace.
Do you do gift vouchers?
The courses and taster sessions make great presents and Gift Vouchers can be emailed to you.
What is the editioning service?
This service is offered to Galleries, Artists and Makers who would like to create a limited edition laser cut print, or include laser cutting in their work, without doing a course and learning the process themselves.
We will discuss the project and outcome desired and then I will create the file from a drawing or photograph and laser cut it from the material/print provided. I work closely with the artist or maker, throughout this process, either in the studio, or remotely via telephone and email, to ensure the result is all that is expected and more.
What file format does your laser cutter read?
The laser will open and read a number of imported files types including .ai, .eps, .dxf
A full list will be added soon.
This means if you are familiar with Vector drawing programs, you can create the file at home.
“I had an idea for a limited edition printed object which relied on precision cutting and folding. The drawings had to be digitised and a series of cutting tests made before the start of the job. At all times Jenny’s encouraging and capable manner left me in no doubt that I had chosen the right place, and that the job would be done perfectly and on time….and at a good price. I look forward to using her resources again.”
Hazel Symons came up from Cornwall for our Summer School this year and was doing some really interesting experiments with a view to making wearable wooden garments. Our next Introduction to Laser Cutting Course is on 26th and 27th October. Click here for more details...
Due to a cancelation I have one place left on my Next Introduction to Laser Cutting Weekend Course on Sat 2nd and Sun 3rd March. Click here for more details and to book. Image Credit: Noleen Farmer (Previous Course Participant)
Fund Raising Face Masks I am making 100 limited edition reversible cotton face masks to raise funds for the Mission Hall Studio Maintenance costs at this challenging time. These have been laser cut out of my mum's patchwork fabric. She was a keen sewer when she was...
Looking forward to teaching my last Introduction to Laser Cutting Course for this year. Still few places available. Click here for more information and to book a place. Any questions, please get in touch. Next Course in new year is January 26th & 27th.