Laser cutters are located on the ground floor next to the Material labs
The Labs have three Universal Laser Systems solid state laser cutters useful for etching patterns or cutting virtually any 2-dimensional shape from a wide variety of thin materials such as acrylic, chipboard, wood veneer, and thin plywood. The lasers are in the east part of the Material labs in their own room and are open 24/7 during the semester.


We have three Universal laser systems all with 32" x 18” beds. Costs are $.005 per square inch.

Each laser's usage is controlled on a signup sheet basis - "first come first served." Please see the tutorials below. Tutorials are also posted in the laser lab. If you have any further questions use the contact list for monitors located outside lab entrance. 

The lab is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the regular semester, excluding holidays. You must sign up for a time-slot – there are signup sheets posted next to entrance to lab.  (2 hours max on 1 laser)

The student begins their file preparation by modeling their form with any of the following programs:

Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Alias, Rhinoceros, Maya, Solidworks, 3dsMax, AutoCAD.

Note: the Laser Cutter requires 2D line drawings only.

When your files are ready then bring them down the laser lab.

To gain access to the Laser Cutter:

Students must first read the on line tutorials.

Read and understand the Policies and Procedures

And you must pass the Laser Lab Test in order to log into the laser labs:

The Laser Policies

1. SURVEILLANCE: The lasers are under video surveillance.

2. ATTENDANCE: NEVER leave the laser unattended. It can catch fire! Stay alert and observe. If there is any, flame, smoke or fire, LIFT the lid to Stop. If you leave the laser running unattended, the staff will shut it off. If you have to leave, stop or pause your file.

3. RESPONSIBILITY: The Lasers are for Academic Use, only. You are financially responsible for all damage due to misuse.

4. MATERIALS: Only use allowed materials, any questions ask!  Always test your settings first.

YES: Basswood, balsa, cardboard, chipboard, leather. Paper burns easily, so only use very low power settings and fast speed. You MUST run quick tests with simple lines when using paper to determine the proper settings.

MAYBE: Plexiglas and acrylic can be cut, but can smell bad. If you are going to cut them, notify others in room before starting. Place acrylic waste in containers outside of the laser lab to control fumes.

NO: Foam-core, Lexan, PVC, treated plywood, MDF or anything that can produce toxic fumes when burned. NO glass, mirrors, metal, coins, foil, metallic paints, or anything that can reflect the laser. NO glues, sprays, or toxic materials.

6. PREPARATION: Prepare your files first. Your laser reservation will be forfeited if you are not cutting within 10 min. of your start time.

7. POST-PRODUCTION: You may not use the laser room to assemble your models. Once you have cut your material, please gather your things and clean up after yourself. Do not leave the remains of your materials on the tables, on the laser beds, or anywhere in the room. Be considerate of fellow students.

8. COST: Students are charged for laser use with the PaperCut system via CatCard. You pay only for the cut area, which is set in the engraving field on UCP software.

9. CERTIFICATION: All students must complete the online laser test before using lasers. If you are caught using another student’s login, both the user and the login-owner will be penalized:

1st offense- laser privledges suspended for one week; $50 fine.

2nd offense- laser privledges suspended for one month; $100 fine.

3rd offense- laser privledges suspended for remainder of the semester; $200 fine.


Lasers are maintained weekly but with heavy use, problems are unavoidable. If you have a deadline, plan ahead. Waiting until the last minute to cut should be avoided.

Great source for a birch ply made just for lasers:


Paper will burn very easily, so it is not recommended unless you use very low power settings and fast speed.  You MUST run quick tests with simple lines when using paper to determine the proper settings.