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Trotec Laser Cutter

Trotec 80w CO2 laser cutter

Locations & Availability

Ruby1Available during staffed hours in the Co-Lab Studio at Ruby

The Trotec Laser Cutters are ideal for cutting flat sheets up to a quarter of an inch thick, such as: 

  • Wood 
  • Acrylic 
  • Paper 
  • Natural Fabrics 

The full list of approved materials is located next to the laser cutter.

What to Bring 

Bring your own material, although 3’x2’ and 1’x2’ sheets of 1/8” plywood can be purchased at the TEC and Ruby. You can also look through the leftover scrap material at each location, there’s often some nice bits of material.

If you want to cut your material, then bring a vector file like a .dxf, .svg, or .ai file. 

If you want to engrave your material, then bring the image you want to engrave. 

Pro Tips 
  • When cutting thick material, you’ll get better results if you do multiple passes at a faster speed than a single pass at a slow speed. 
  • If you need to engrave some thin lines into your material, score it instead! Scoring is when you use a vector line to lightly cut your material just enough to leave a mark, but not enough to cut all the way through. This will go a lot quicker than engraving. 
  • When making finger joints, actually measure out the thickness of your material! Eighth-inch wood is commonly closer to 0.1 inches thick. 
  • The way the laser interprets grayscale photos is that black pixels will engrave with the settings you’ve given the laser, white pixels won’t engrave at all, and any other pixel will be proportionally between the two. Photos tend to be pretty dark and burned wood doesn’t have much contrast, so it’s often better to turn photos into truly just black and white images using photoshop or online halftone or dithering generators. 
  • Wood engraves dark, so the color of your wood is the lightest it will be. Acrylic engraves white, so the color of your acrylic is the darkest it will be. Paper and cardboard start by engraving lighter, but with more power will engrave darker. 
  • How long will my job take?
    • Engraving jobs take time based on the exterior dimensions of the job. Engraving a 4-inch square will take the same amount of time whether the square is hollow or filled in.
    • One way to save time is to Score thin lines instead of Engraving them.
    • Vector jobs take time based on the total length of vector cuts, as well as how many times it has to move from one vector to the next.
    • One way to save time is to join your vectors together.
  • What happens if the focus isn’t perfectly set (ie wood is warped)? 
    • The focal point is just the place where the laser cuts best, and it can cut well for a bit beyond that both ways. After all, we tend to focus the laser to the top of the material, and not the center. However, the further out of focus the laser gets the more energy it loses.
    • That’s a long way to say that it’s fine if it’s just a bit out of alignment. However, if it’s really out of focus, then you might need to run multiple passes or adjust your focus.
  • Why does my cut look really burned and sooty? 
    • The glue in plywood tends to make engravings look messy, especially compared to solid wood. For best results, avoid engraving through the first layer of plywood.
    • You can also cover cut lines with tape to visually reduce the burnt edge. While you can wipe off soot, you can’t wipe of the caramelization from the edges of your cut. 


Availability: Staffed Hours, Location: Ruby, Material: Plastic, Material: Wood, Type: Cutter