LASER Cutting


What is it?

Laser-cutting is a fast, easy and precise way of cutting and engraving detailed artwork. It does this by continually firing a powerful laser beam, via a series of mirrors and lens that move laterally, and onto a flatbed where sheet material such as card, MDF and acrylic is placed. Under the intense beam of the laser the material is vaporised leaving it cut to a depth according to predetermined settings, i.e. from a shallow engraving to fully cut through. The technology works by either following vector information to create 2D patterns and shapes or rasterised information to create images or area hatching.

What’s it for?

Laser-cutting is a 2D fabrication tool; however it is very useful in the 3D construction process of architectural models. For example, a 3D landscape model could be sliced into 2D contours and laser cut separately, or a series of 2D laser cut components could be slotted together to create a much larger 3D object. Due to its speed and accuracy, laser cutting is a very useful tool for prototyping and is used widely across many different design disciplines.

How can I use it?

The DPL currently has four laser cutting machines and they are free to use for AA students. To book a machine students can log in to the DPL Online Booking System (click the link in the top right) and reserve a time slot, however they must first have completed the DPL Laser Cutting Induction to have access. During term time the DPL is open for laser cutting between 9am-9pm (Mon-Fri) and 10am-5pm (Sat) with time slots bookable every hour. Please note there are limitations to booking in some cases – more information can be found on the online booking system.

What materials can I use?

The lasers are capable of cutting many different materials; like plastics, wood, card, paper, fabrics etc, but for safety reasons we do ask that students check with staff before cutting anything they’ve brought into the lab themselves. For example; PVC / foamboard / styrene are NOT allowed. The DPL stocks the following materials for sale to AA students:



3.0mm MDF
6.0mm MDF

Size (approx)

800mm x 450mm
800mm x 450mm



3.0mm Perspex (clear&white)
5.0mm Perspex (clear&white)

800mm x 450mm
800mm x 450mm


1.5mm Birch Plywood

800mm x 450mm


Technical Information

The DPL has the following laser cutting machines:

Universal VLS6.60 812mm x 457mm Cutting Area
Universal PLS6.60 812mm x 457mm Cutting Area
2x Universal X2-660 812mm x 457mm Cutting Area

Please note that due to health and safety reasons, students must never leave these machines unattended at any time.


To learn more about how to prepare your work for laser cutting and how to use the machines, please view the tutorial below: