Creating art for AMT's LaserCutter
I use a free program called Inkscape which is available for both Mac and PC. It's a little tricky to use, but there are excellent step-by-step tutorials available online if you get stuck. You will want to save your work as a .svg or .dxf file.
With Inkscape you can either
- Create a vector drawing from scratch
- Import a pdf or jpg file, for example an internet picture or a scan of your artwork, and use the "trace bitmap" function to convert this to a vector drawing.
There are also several commercial programs that will produce vector art, for example Adobe Illustrator.
Email us at the address below if you're having insurmountable problems - but do use a search engine to look for solutions online first :)
Mail us your art file
Email your .svg file to email@example.com
Why do I need to email my file?
A couple of reasons. First, we will be cutting on a first-come first-served basis; sending your file in email gets you an early place in the queue. Second, I can let you know if your pattern is going to be difficult to cut in the material you want. Third, I can convert some of the files ahead of time -- which means more time for actual cutting during Open Lab.
Logistics for Open Lab day
How large/complex can your design be?
The external dimensions of your design can be up to 3x4' - what will fit on the lasercutter bed. However I do want to make sure that we help as many people as we can, so I would like to limit actual cutting time to around 10 minutes.
What kind of material will we be cutting?
We will have on hand, for no charge:
- Paper and poster board
- Corrugated cardboard
We will have on hand, for a small fee:
- 3/16" birch plywood
- 1/8" cherry veneer plywood
- leather scraps
- various cloth materials
You can bring in your own:
- Cloth made entirely of organic material (cotton, bamboo, wool, or rayon)
- Paper or cardboard
We won't cut any material that we have concerns about - coated paper, heavily-dyed leather, etc. The safety of our visitors is our first concern.
Please don't bring your own plywood to Open Lab! We want to maximize the time we spend cutting, which means limiting the number of materials we will have to calibrate for. We won't be cutting acrylic during Open Lab; although it's safe to cut, it generates a really obnoxious smell, and it also takes a lot of time because the laser moves slowly.
I have a real project that I want to make! How do I get more Laser Cutter time?
The Laser Cutter is a member resource of Ace Monster Toys. The easiest way to get access is to join AMT, get trained, and use the equipment. Membership is month-to-month and there is no long term commitment.
You can also come in as the guest of an AMT member who knows how to use the Laser Cutter. Speak nicely to the AMT members who volunteer at Hacker Scouts Open Lab, and one of them will probably be willing to help you out :)