Beginning Laser Art Workshop

Learn to use the laser!

Bring your own black and white design and we will show you how to etch and cut your own custom art with a laser cutter.
We’ll teach you how to make a unique laser-cut art piece cut and embossed on laser-safe materials. We will have wood, wool felt, leather and acrylic squares on hand for purchase.

Computer files:

The laser cutter can use vector file information and raster image information from a variety of programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Inkscape and other graphic programs. It can also use information from .pdf files, which can be generated by many different programs. We have Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Inkscape at the lab. If you do not have those programs, export your files into .pdf file format and bring your original file just in case. We should be able to cut or emboss using your .pdf file.

Black and white photographs and simple black and white images are ideal for embossing, please bring images to class to decorate your work with.

To create a design that will cut through materials:

The laser cutter uses vector lines to cut. Two programs that use vectors to make drawings are Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape, but others exist as well. The thickness of the line determines whether the laser cutter will cut through a material or not. Any line thicker than .001 in will engrave, (burn a light layer off the top of the material), and not cut.

To generate a line that will cut a material, set your program to make the line .001 inches in thickness.

To create a design on the surface of the material, (Engraving):

Any line that is thicker than .001 inches will not cut, but will burn a light layer off of the top of the material. Black and white photographs and graphic designs with thick areas of black will engrave materials and not cut them. Engraving is very time consuming and the more complex the image the longer it will take the laser cutter to engrave the image. Photographs take the longest amount of time, while thick black lines found in black and white graphic images take the least.
Any file that can be exported to a .pdf file format can be used to engrave a material. File formats such as .jpg, tiff, .ai, .eps and many more can be used although they may need to be converted to .pdf file format before being used by the laser cutter.

To engrave and cut

Create your design in a program that can use vectors and rastor images, such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. Just make sure the lines you want to cut are .001 in in thickness and that any other lines are thicker and the laser cutter will engrave and cut your design out of the material of your choice.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at: