Week 2 - Laser Cutter


Artist of the Day

Anila Quayyum Agha


Rhino 2D Basics

  1. Create new file from template. Small objects inches.
  2. User interface:
    • Switch between single and quad (four-up) display.
    • Pan, tilt, zoom in display.
    • Turning Grid Snap on and off. (To create points that stick to origin, 0.25in, etc.) Try as a text command: Type Snap once to turn it on. Once to turn it off.
  3. 2D Primitives
  4. 2D Operations
    • Trim uses one object to cut and delete parts of another object.
    • Split uses one object to cut and split another object.
    • Join connects objects to form a single object
    • Extend lengthens or shortens a curve
  5. Organization
  6. Transforms
  7. Direct Manipulation
    • Changing objects once you have drawn them. We are dealing with NURBS
    • PointsOn
      • Click and drag to move points. Use transforms (Move).
    • PointsOff

Example File 2D Basics


Rhino file: basic_drawing

Intro to Laser Cutter

Hands-on with our FSL Muse 3D (Full Spectrum Laser):

1. Laser basics

2. Material choice

3. Laser Settings

4. Cut Types

5. Cut demos


Full Spectrum Laser has their own engraving software called RetinaEngrave. We will use it from the workstation on the laser table.

  1. Create Design
  2. Open RetinaEngrave on the workstation. (Desktop Shortcut, or Safari -> fslca88.local)
  3. Import the design (SVG file). We will use HW1.
  4. Place your material in the laser cutter
  5. Secure your material (blue tape)
  6. Capture workspace (camera)
  7. Change your line colors/layer colors, if you need to.
  8. Change your scale/placement, if necessary.
  9. Set the engraving properties - Vector Engraving (note, it is all called “engraving” in Muse)
  10. Turn on Water Cooler; Exhaust; Air Assist.
  11. Run job.

    Design for Laser Cutter

Simple Laser Cutter Design

  1. Create new file from template. Small objects inches.
  2. Drawing in 2d; using layers
  3. Optional: Extrude your layers to the thickness of your material, to see what this would look like as cut.
    • (f.ex. for 1/8” birch plywood you would extrude it to something like 0.125” thick. you can use your calipers to check these measurements)
  4. Exporting to SVG.


Artist of the Day


Ben Butler

Tab and Slot Construction

  1. How can we build 3d structure with 2d materials?
  2. Tab and slot construction? (also called finger joints)
  3. You need to design 2d parts that have holes (slots), and other parts that have tabs, so that when cut from flat materials you can assemble them into 3d forms.
  4. Optional: Extrude your designs to the thickness of the material, to make solides. Assemble these solides in Rhino to mock up your 3d form.
  5. Reference (Video Tutorials):
    • Finger joint laser cut box: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBSQGHBpBWg
    • Finger joint tutorial in Rhino with boolean operations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYxUUSWIRW4


Measuring Thickness

Matching Parts

Example Two Slots


Rhino file: two_slots.3dm

Living Hinge



Laser Cutter Reference

Power Settings