Laser Cutting is a non-contact process which utilizes a laser to cut materials, resulting in high quality, dimensionally accurate cuts. The process works by directing the laser beam through a nozzle to the work piece. Depending on the combination of heat and pressure, the laser can engrave or cut into the stock to produce the desired outcome. These machines are only located at the Design Warehouse, and operate on a first come first serve bases. The usual turnaround time for a project is within a 24 hour window however during periods of high demand turnaround time can take up to 48 hours or more. Keep this in mind when choosing to utilize this process.

Universal Laser System:

The VPA has two laser cutters in operation. Both machines have the same specs and are located in the Design Warehouse. This machine can process stock sizes up to 18" X 32" X 0.25" . The laser cutter can accept AutoCAD, Rhino3D and Adobe Illustrator files.

Material Usage:

Prohibited Materials 

  • Lexan
  • PVC
  • styrene,
  • polyesters (including Dura-Lar and polycarbonate)
  • PET films (including PETG)
  • polypropylene
  • vinyl
  • foam core
  • metal
  • most synthetic fabrics

**Prohibited materials could melt on the laser bed, catch fire or release toxic gas
. Materials are available for use from the VPA Shops. The SU Bookstore sells many of the acceptable materials, including acrylic. But please note, the bookstore also sells material that looks like acrylic but is not—this includes styrene, PETG and Dura-Lar, all of which are not permitted on the laser cutter.**

Acceptable Materials

Birch Plywood, Acrylic, Chipboard, MDF, Cardboard, Leather, Paper, and Natural Fabrics.
**Most organic materials can be processed through the laser cutter, however if the material you would like to cut is not on this list bring a sample of the material in with the material safety data sheet and a technician on staff will be able to determine if your material is acceptable for the laser cutting process.**

File Submission for Laser Cutters:

The VPA offers a downloadable template for Rhino, Auto CAD, and Illustrator. These templates can be found within the template download link within the file submission tab on the left-hand side of the window. This template includes a 1:1 scale of the laser cutters bed with a detailed guide for setting up your project.
Cut = Red - laser completely penetrates material
Score = Blue - laser makes shallow cut

Raster = Black - lase makes several passes to inlay darker shapes into the surface of the material
Skip = white - laser does not cut


  • The laser cutter will accept .3dm .ai and .dxf/.dwg files.
  • Submit your file through the File Submission tab on Blackboard. Specify what material you would like to use and how you would like the material cut. 
  • Stock can be purchased through the digital lab. If you would like to do so, let us know within the email.
  • The shop will accept outsourced materials, but a technician must approve all materials prior to running it through the machine.
  • If you are supplying your own material, it must be dropped off before we prepare the file for printing.