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Sac Midtown: Intro to Laser Cutter

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What is a Laser Cutter? A laser cutter is a rapid prototyping machine for cutting and etching precise shapes out of wood, plastic and other rigid materials. Think of it as a printer, but with more firepower!

Note: While we will touch on illustrator use briefly, this class does NOT cover vector graphics design, rather it teaches the student how to take an existing design and run it on the Laser Cutter.

If you have zero experience with vector graphics design (Illustrator, Corel, Inkscape, etc) consider taking our “Intro to Design for the Laser Cutter” class in addition to this class.

How Will This Class Be Structured?

Introduction and outline of class
Laser cutting in practice


Vector versus Raster files
Vector design software
Designing in vectors with Inkscape Illustrator
Review student designs
Review errors and ways to prevent them


How Should Students Prepare?

Students must bring their own laptops pre-loaded with Inkscape. Students should create or find a design that fits within a 4 inch square that they wish to cut. The test material will be 1/8th inch birch plywood (personal materials may not be substituted for this class). No additional tools or parts will be necessary.

What Will Students Get Out Of This Class?

By the end of the class students will have a general understanding of laser cutter design and operation and the basic skills necessary to begin cutting with the machine. After completion of the class, students will be able to attend supervised hours (Fab Labs) on Sunday and Monday afternoons wherein they may ask for assistance in design and operation. Unsupervised use of the laser cutter will not be allowed initially. After students have attended multiple Fab Labs and can demonstrate full knowledge of laser safety and operation will they be reviewed to gain independent access to the machine.

Attendance for this class is open to the general public.  However, you must become a full Hacker Lab member to use the laser cutter after the class is over.

About the Instructor

Jake Castro

Jake is a long-time maker and artisan.  He uses the laser cutter to make jewelry, engravings and really amazing leather wallets.  Join him to learn the basics on our Laser Cutter, and get some insight into how to make everything from functional pieces to great art using the Laser Cutter.  You can find out more about Jake online: http://www.jakecastro1.com/