Set up guide for laser cutting and engraving

Typical Set Out for AutoCAD designs

The drawing should be drawn to model size, NOT REAL SIZE. It should be saved as a DWG file.

Do not use layers - Make sure all laser work is in layer 0

After drawing the model always 'overkill' your drawing, we find that some drawings have multiple lines where something is copied and placed over the top of another line, the laser will see the multiple lines and cut them accordingly, which will add to the time it takes to cut your model adding to the cost.

Call or visit the workshop for further information.



MDF 3mm, 6mm and 9mm

Available for purchase from the Workshop

Ply 3mm, 6mm and 9mm Some availability from the Workshop
Acrylics to 9mm Some availability from the Workshop
Balsa Wood to 9mm Not available from the Workshop
Strawboard 1mm, 1.8mm, 2.4mm Available for purchase from the Workshop
Whitecard 1mm, 2mm Available for purchase from the Workshop
Paper Not available from the Workshop

Sheet Sizes

Material Sheet size Usable area


1200mm x 600mm

1190mm x 590mm.


1020mm x 600mm

1010mm x 590mm.

White Paste Board

1020mm x 600mm

1010mm x 590mm.

DO NOT USE the outside edges of the sheet as a border as stated above, always allow an offset of 5mm minimum around all edges as shown in the example sheet below.

Please do not bring plastics to be cut as it transmits a toxic gas.

Students can supply their own materials but for convenience some of the above materials are available for purchase from the workshop.

The workshop stocks these materials as the materials are from one supplier and the moisture content is consistent and the operator is familiar with the settings and test trials are not required. If supplying your own, please provide an additional piece (100mm x 200mm) to enable the operator to test cuts before cutting your model. 1mm straw board is the most economical material to build models.

Different ways of cutting and engraving

Below is the description and the colours needed to set up the laser. They must be true colours.

Colour set upDescription
Vector Cutting (Magenta) Laser will cut all the way through the material.
Vector Engraving (Green) By reducing power and speed settings, the laser will only mark lines, circles and outline printing.
Raster Engraving (Red) Hatched Printing (broad text), photographs and designs.

The most economical way of using the laser is by vector cutting and vector engraving using AutoCAD. Vectors are lines. Try to use common lines where one line makes two objects as per the example drawing sheet.

A guide on how far apart lines can be before the material distorts during vector cutting.

Material Line limit
3mm MDF 1.0mm
6mm MDF 2.0mm
9mm MDF 3.0mm
3.0mm Acrylic 1.0mm
6.0mm Acrylic 1.5mm
9.0mm Acrylic 5.0mm
1mm Strawboard 1.0mm
2mm Strawboard 1.0mm
1mm and 2 mm Balsa Wood 1.0mm
2.5mm to 5mm Balsa Wood 2.0mm
5.5mm to 9.0mm Balsa Wood 5.0mm

Set Out Guide for Laser 1

example of a set out guide for laser 1


All enquiries should be directed to the workshop:

Phone 5227 2251 or 5227 8019

Submit all drawings for laser cutting to:

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