Our Universal Laser Cutter is set up, and we’re eager to start using it this semester. We just finished an in-depth training on its operation and maintenance from Product Development Inc., and would like to thank Educause and HP for helping make that possible.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature Andrew Rippeon has some exciting projects blending the 16th century technology of the letterpress with the cutting-edge technology of the laser cutter. The Resident Designer and Production Manager for Theatre Jeff Larson also attended the training, with an eye on how laser cutting can invigorate the Theatre Department’s creation of models, puppets, sets, props, and other design elements! Our laser cutter is currently housed in the Theatre Department’s costume shop, pending a future space for 3D and digital fabrication technologies.

We’ll be using Adobe Illustrator to design our files for laser cutting. We tested several materials, including paper, plastic, and wood. We experimented with differences between soft and hard wood; plywood proved to be difficult to cut through, since it is a composite of several wood types which would require different settings. As well as cutting into paper in individual sheets or small stacks, among our discoveries was the possibility of marking on and etching into paper with the laser cutter.

Watch our laser cutter in action, cutting letters into paper.