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Laser Cutting


The makerspace provides lasercutting machines for enrolled students to help provide additional means of fabrication for their coursework. In order to use the machines, students are required to complete the laser safety portion of RASCAL training, and attend the makerspace orientation that reviews the space’s policies and booking procedure.

Laser cutters are available during operating hours of the Makerspace. To book a laser cutter, come in person to the Makerspace, and speak to a monitor to book a slot.

For a tutorial video on how to use the laser cutters, you can watch our tutorial video HERE!

Beginning Summer 2022, laser cutting will be free for all GSAPP students.
Required Training
Makerspace Orientation is held during the beginning of the Summer and Fall semesters. Please arrive early to orientation appointment times, and be sure to stay for the whole orientation. RASCAL certificates will be checked at the end. Both orientation and certificate are required.
RASCAL Training
  1. Login with Uni and current password to RASCAL site.
  2. Select Training Center
  3. Select Course Listings
  4. Select TC1600 - Laser Safety Training
  5. Select Take Course. It will pop-up in a new window. Then return to the course overview
  6. Select Take Test
  7. Print/Save the certificate. Please retake if you receive less than 90%.
  8. Present to monitor during training orientation.
Laser Cutting Template

Download the laser cutting template here.

This Rhino template can be used by students. It has the layers and line type calibrated properly for optimal cutting. The layers correspond to the cutting order and depth. Vectors to be scored should be kept on the red, green and yellow layers respectively. Vectors to be cut should be kept on the blue, magenta and cyan layers respectively. When cutting intense patterns or very close lines, make sure to distribute the cuts on different “cut line” color layers so that the laser jumps around and minimizes the chance of fire and damage to your job.

The template’s size is adjusted to the size of the laser bed (32" x 18") and should remain untouched. It is advised that you keep vectors inside the dotted line to ensure they are not cropped and/or missed by the laser. Please align your file to the top left-hand corner of the template whenever possible.

If you have multiple files to cut, simply copy the template on the same file. If there are different materials, simply label each copied template with the corresponding material type.

Laser Cutting Signup Schedule
Booking Procedure
Orientation and RASCAL training must be completed before booking. All slots must be paid before completion of booking. Bookings must be done in person during opening hours of the Makerspace.
Approved Materials
If you are unsure of whether a material can be cut, bring a sample of the material for testing and approval.
Remove the brown, protective paper on ONE SIDE ONLY but leave the other side adhered to the material. Students can only cuts casted acrylics (plexi glass) sold with brown paper covering as the other types with blue or clear protective film release toxic gases and cannot be cut. Plexis submitted without any covering will not be cut.
Sizing your Boards
On the 5th floor of Avery in the hallway connecting the studios, there are two cutting tables, near which is a laser cutting material size guide. This is basically a 32" x 18" wood frame that can be laid on your material to show you the correct size your material should be. It has metal edges and can be used as a straightedge for cutting.
Acrylic 1/32", 1/16", 1/8" and ¼"
Adhesive Vinyl
Butter Board
Chipboard 1-, and 2-ply
Museum Board
Poster Board
Wood 1/32", 1/16", 1/8", and ¼"
Banned Materials

Certain materials are not allowed to be cut on our laser cutters, either due to safety concerns or for ensuring longevity of the machines for the rest of the student body. A short list of some of our banned materials can be found below. Do note that this list is non-exhaustive, and additions may be made as students branch out into new materials for model making.

  • Any form of metal
  • PVC
  • Polycarbonate
  • Foamcore
  • PTFE
  • LDF/MDF/HDF wood materials
  • Newspaper
  • Leather
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Any materials with epoxy in/on it
  • Unidentified materials. You can come by the shop and ask us if we can identify what kind of material you have, but if we’re unable to, the material cannot be cut.
Material Resources

This online store carries a wide array of tools, supplies, and raw materials. Generally, a great resource for anything from Pet G to office supplies. Usually delivers within two days.
Please note that most end mills can be found on McMaster Carr here.
Visit the Hardware section for more information on end mills.

Canal Plastics Center
345 Canal Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-1666
For your plastic needs. Relatively inexpensive acrylic, styrene, etc.

T&T Plastic Land Inc.
315 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-6376
Another great resource for various plastics.

2870 Broadway
New York, NY 10025
(212) 866-5747
Close proximity and with approved acrylic.