Laser cutters use a high-powered laser to cut or engrave a wide range of materials, including wood, acrylic, leather, and paper.

Equipment

Universal laser cutter, model VLS6.60

Image of Glowforge

Universal VLS 6.60 Glowforge

What can I make with a laser engraver? 

All types of things! It’s a very versatile machine that’s deceptively easy to use. Checkout this article “From Food to Furniture: 10 Dazzling Laser-Cutter Projects” from Wired magazine for a few examples. 

Location

  • Universal VLS 6.60: Maker Hub – Downtown
  • Glowforge: Maker Hub – Colonnades

Access

You must attend a 90-minute Basic Training and Safety training before you can use either laser engraver. See www.elon.edu/MakerHub for a list of upcoming trainings. After attending training, you can use the Laser Engraver during regular operating hours. It is first-come, first-serve.

Tutorials and resources

Materials

Only approved materials are allowed on the laser engraver. Attempting to engrave or cut other materials could seriously harm your health and/or the tool and is not allowed. 

Laser-safe materials are:  

  • laser-safe plywood (interior-grade plywood made without formaldehyde glue)
  • untreated lumber
  • acrylic
  • paper, chipboard, cardboard, and poster board
  • textiles (most woven fabrics, including cotton, felt, fleece, denim, linen polyester, lace, and silk)
  • leather (NEVER pleather or faux leather)

We have an assortment of all these materials available in the Maker Hub for you to use for free (except leather). See the Maker Hub’s policies on materials for limitations on what the free materials can be used for. 

Supplying your own material

If you supply your own material, it’ll need to go through the Material Approval process. Ask a Maker Hub Consultant for the form in the Maker Hub - Downtown location. Once complete, it’ll be approved/denied by Maker Hub leadership based on the information you provide. If you purchase material, please keep the receipt. It’ll speed up the review process. Expect the process to take about a week. 

Material recommendations

We strongly recommend Baltic Birch plywood from the Hardwood Store of North Carolina in Gibsonville. – sold in 5 feet x 5 feet sheets. Smaller sheets of plywood can be purchased from Inventables.

Acrylic can be purchased from Inventablesand Delvie’s Plastics. Verify the sheets are laserable (they also sell plastic intended for CNC routers, referred to as rotary). Larger sheets of acrylic can be purchased from Piedmont Plastics in Greensboro.

Untreated lumber can be purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. Plywood, however, is not recommended from Lowes or Home Depot. 

Technical details

Universal Laser Systems VLS6.60, 60 watt

Accommodates materials up to 32” x 18” x 9” (tall)

Glowforge Laser Engraver, 40 watt

Accommodates materials up to 19” x 11” x 2” (tall)