Laser Cutting and Vinyl
This week we got to make some of our designs and test it out on laser cutter and vinyl cutter. The process of using this machines are relatively simple, thanks to easy to use softwares. I tried cutting MDF for my press fit kit. One of the main issue I faced is the laser kerf on a locally made laser cutter by a brand called SIL. The material I used is MDF ( medium density fiber board) with a thickness of 2.49mm. The kerf was very high and its affected the design after printing it. The solution to this was to also include the cutting kerf which was 0.3 mm and the machine would subtract it from the design during the cutting and hence we get the size we require. The kerf is due to the quality of the laser head, and cheaper laser had bigger laser point hence leading to bigger difference in size. The kerf according to my calculation was 0.3 mm so i need to resize my design by increasing it by 0.3 mm and since I made my design parametric, I just need to added the addition measurement into the This issue was not found in epilogue laser cutter.

Parametric Design

Parametric design is dimension's ability to change the shape or measurement of model geometry as soon as the dimension value is modified.

How to design 'parametric designs'

We need to use the 'Change parameter' tool from the modify tab.

We need to add all the dimension that are same and needed to be changed later under same name by pressing the '+' sign next to user parameters and add the value you desire.

Now when adding the dimention of the shape, mention the name you entered in the user parameter you previously set.

We can always go back to change the dimentions

Laser Cutting on sil.

I have tried sil first, the issue with this cheap machine is it has a huge difference between the design and the cut out, which is called kerf. this mechine has a kerf of 0.3mm, so i had to add 0.3 from my design to get the size I required. Kerf is the path which the laser eats as it cuts depending on the quality of the laser head.

Control display on sil

Laser in action

Joining the pieces.

Laser Cutting on Epilogue.

This laser cutter is so much better than the sil laser cutter. Firstly , it can be directly used through Coral draw, and the setting is much easier. The machine itself is user friendly and required less time to set up and use than the SIL laser cutter. Secondly, the Kerf on this laser is too small and can be neglected during my type of design. It also did the job much quicker than the local machine.

The Setup

The machine set up is easy as setting up a normal paper printer at home.

Print Quality

The print quality is so much better than SIL and the fits are very accurate. The kerf is too low and is neglected in the design.


In spite of its awesome performance, its very easy to run the machine. We must also not forget the Dangers of the laser and must use under precaution and safety.

The kit I made is small so that it would be easier to make different shapes. I think this can also serve as education toys for kids provided that the design is made larger in size for small kids.
Here is the DXF file to download. Click Here
Vinyl Cutting

I have used corel draw to make a design and had it cut from yellow vinyl. The format used is .png to get the path form the image. There are lots of interesting projects on vinyl cutting that is still due to try. I have mentioned how I drew it last week.

The Design

The design I used to cut in the vinyl cutter was from last week's assignmnets.

Setting up

We can use roll or pieces of vinyl to cut our designs. When we select the type of vinyl we have in the start up of the machine, its measures it width in roll and if its a piece it measure both the axis, which is the width and the length automatically. The mod(thanks to Prof.Neil) in ubuntu allows us to change the size and trace the path and the next step is just sending it to the machine and it works like magic.

Cutting it

I have only used the default setting for this design including the cut force. It took few seconds to cut the stickers of my design which was 8cm by 8cm. I have only used a single color on this though my design has two color as those particular color was not available.

Using It

I have pasted my work on back of my laptop and it looks really cool! I had issues removing the unwanted parts from the sticker as it was quite small and the wanted parts were sticking up on to the unwanted so an exacto knife was really useful. One of the reason why I faced this issue is because of the blade on the vinyl cutter was quite old.

All the download files are