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Adrian McEwen edited this page Aug 2, 2018 · 22 revisions

We have two laser cutters here at DoES, known as Sophia (the Smaller) and Gerald (the Gigantic).

You can book either laser for the day or half-day one day at a time. They’re easy to use, but please read this whole section before booking or emailing us.

Workshop Access

To use the laser cutters you will need to arrange access to our workshop, letting you use any of our machines, including 3D printers, a vacuum former, vinyl cutter and much more. Entry to the workshop, which includes use of the laser is £12 a day, or £6 a half-day. Use of the larger laser has a £2 daily surcharge. Use of the lasers is included in the anytime workshop membership of £65/month but you will still need to book and continue to pay the larger laser surcharge, see our workshop page here. You can also use the laser cutters at our weekly Maker-night

How Laser Cutting works

We don’t cut for you, but offer you the opportunity to cut your own projects. You will have a short induction, and then we’ll leave you to experiment. Most people find their way around very quickly, and come out with great pieces of work. You’ll need your own flash drive to transfer files to the laser computers, and we suggest you create your design before you come.

Inductions generally occur on Thursday morning and cost £20 per person. You can also be inducted for free (and use the lasers for free) at one of our Maker Night or Maker Day events Maker-night, see our calendar for dates.


We have some material, mostly smaller (300mm square, 3mm thick) sections of plywood and acrylic in various colours. Occassionally we have larger sheets of of mdf, but would suggest you bring your own if you want larger or unsual pieces to cut. The laser will cut most materials, including ply, mdf, acrylic, card, paper, leather, and cloth, and will etch glass. You can’t cut metal (reflects the laser) or vinyl or PVC (corrosive gases). See LaserMaterials for a list of materials suppliers.

Laser Cutter Sizes

Sophia is in theory A3, but the fixings holding up the bed intrude into this area, limiting the size. See LaserCutterSophia for more details on the bed size. This laser cuts ply and acrylic upto 6mm depth, but is best at 3mm or thinner.

LaserCutterGerald should only be booked when you require the extra size or power. The bed size is 1,200mm by 900mm. This laser will cut up to 10mm acrylic, ply, mdf and wood, but works best with 6mm or thinner sheet. For comparison A0 size is 841mm x 1189mm.

Files and Software

The lasers run LaserCut 5 which can be tempermental when importing, especially complex files. It imports .dxf files (R14 in millimeters), which can be exported from most vector or CAD programs.

We recommend Inkscape ( as a free, opensource vector editing program. Our recommended process for best results is to export from Inkscape to .eps, then to import the .eps into Coreldraw (on our computer) and export as .dxf. More information about using Inkscape for preparing Laser Cutter files can be found at LaserCutterInkscape

If you really have to you can use Adobe Illustrator and a member has written a short guide for exporting files here LaserCutterIllustrator


The laser cutters are a shared resource, so to stop the laser being booked up for long periods, you may only book the next time you want to come in. If you’d like more days, you can book further sessions once you’ve had your current session.

If you’ve not used our lasers before, you will need to book an induction, or you won’t be able to use your booked slot. You should book your induction first, to happen before any laser booking. Please contact us at if you need to ask for another induction time.

Then make your booking at

So that other people can get a chance to use the lasers, YOU CAN ONLY BOOK ONE DAY AT A TIME.

More details

See the other wiki pages for more information including power and speed setting for materials we’ve already cut, and the procedure for starting to cut. If you cut something new, please add it to the appropriate wiki page CutEtchSettingsSophia or CutEtchSettingsGerald or email the settings to us at

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