Laser Cutting


Oct 18th,

9:00am — 12:00pm

Location: Weil Hall, Digital Fabrication Lab

About The Workshop

This workshop will introduce the process of designing, cutting, and fabricating a three-dimensional object with laser cutters. Students will learn how to create a basic laser cut file in AutoCAD, Rhino, or Illustrator, export it as an acceptable laser cut file, cut their piece and assembly it. Additionally, the course will cover safety in the lab, booking appointments, file clean up and trouble shooting, material preparation, material selection, and cut types such as raster images, etching, scoring, and cutting.

The main focus of the course will be to teach students the basics of proper file setup, material selection, and laser cutting so that they may use and expand upon their skills and tools in the FABLAB.

The workshop will be roughly 4 hours. 1 hour for introducing, presenting, showing examples, and explaining the FABLAB in a presentation format. 1-1.5 hours to design candle holder and export as a digital format. 1-2 hours of laser cutting and assembly time. Additional time can be added at the end for questions or trouble shooting.

Cross Disciplinary Connections

Laser Cutting at Sam Fox is currently most commonly used by architecture students to fabricate building models. However, any student at Washington University is welcome to use the facility as long as they provide a proper file. For example, students from the engineering school have fabricated mechanical equipment out of acrylic, fashion students have cut assorted fabrics and leather for their pieces, wood can be etched for woodblock printing, stencils can be made for spray painting or tracing, sculptural pieces can be sliced and layered to create 3D objects. A presentation given at the beginning of the workshop will include examples of some laser cutting applications.


By the end of this workshop students will have produced a candle holder that will have been made using a combination of cutting, raster imaging, and scoring. Each student will have the opportunity to either design or choose from a selection of templates their candle holder, laser cut their own pieces on the machine, and assemble their piece.

Resources for Continued Investigation

Students will be provided with handouts and pdf documents on file preparation and a detailed guideline on how to book an appointment. Additionally students may want to check out the following resources

Provides an alternative facility for laser cutting as appointments quickly fill up during finals as well as informative guideline packets for general laser cutting.

Great resource for free downloads of laser cut files as well as 3D print files. Type “Laser cut” into the search bar and a large selection of templates will show up. Some clean up work may still have to be done to the files.

Next Steps

Digital Fabrication Manager:
I can be reached at this email address for any questions regarding the laser cutting process. Additionally, monitors are also available during your appointment for additional file or cutting assistance.


  • Larissa Sattler


Related Tools & Resources