Computer-controlled Cutting


  • Laser Cutting
    • make lasercutter test part(s), varying slot dimensions using parametric functions, testing your laser kerf & cutting settings (group project)
    • cut something on the vinylcutter
    • design, make, and document a parametric press-fit construction kit, accounting for the lasercutter kerf, which can be assembled in multiple ways
      What should be done
      • Explained how you parametrically designed your files
      • Shown how you made your press-fit kit
      • Included your design files and photos of your finished project
  • Vinyl Cutting
    • What should be done
      • Explained how you drew your files
      • Shown how you made your vinyl project
      • Included your design files and photos of your finished project

Laser Cutting

For this assignment, I've designed a press-fit construction kit inspired from something I used to play with when I was a child.

Designing in Autodesk Inventor

I started by 6-sided polygon and extruded it by 3mm (The thickens of the plywood we use)

Added a construction line

Set a polygon length dimension

Create a point on the construction line and set a dimention for it.

Create lines for half the slot and mirror it

Create a construction line for polygon diameter and set a dimension for it then set the depth of the slot to be 1/4 of the diameter.

Selecting the lines for the slot and create a circular pattern around the midpoint

Trimming the lines

The finished piece


Creating constrains to test the fitting of pieces

After inspection, I found out that the slot need to be more shallow so that all the pieces can fit together .So, I resized it by creating a reference point and resetting the dimension.

Multiple pieces assembled

Preparing file for laser cutting

Creating a drawing in Autodesk

When creating a drawing views, I set the orientation to to Top and scale to 1:1

Export drawing as PDF

When exporting the drawing I set the DPI to 600

Importing the PDF into illustrator

I've exported the file into Adobe Illustrator to repeat the part.

Export as DXF

In order to keep the dimensions, I set every 1 pixel to be 1 unit in the DXF export Options dialog.

Laser cutting

At Fab Lab Egypt we have a Morn laser cutter which uses Laser Works to work. I had Laser Works V6 installed so I opened it to prepare the file to be sent to the machine.

I chose File->import and browsed to the location of the DXF file which loaded the prices in the middle which I then moved to the top right corner.

I set the values to be 12mm/s and min and max power for the laser to be 75 as these are the values I found to work with cutting the 3mm plywood we had at the lab.

Then to set the cutting parameters, I double clicked the black layer in the "Work" panel to display its option.

I set the values to be 12mm/s and min and max power for the laser to be 75 as these are the values I found to work with cutting the 3mm plywood we had at the lab.

Then I hit OK the Start to start the cutting process.

Here is the output


Vinyl Cutting

As part of the final project. I needed a platform for the samples presnted to the device on Culture Flask. The platform is just a piece of 30cm x 30cm of 4mm thick glass - to be easily disinfected when necessary - and masked by a sheet of vinyl leaving only space for the bottom of the flask.


I stated drawn by taking measurements of the bottom surface of the flask.

Then, in Autodesk Inventor I drew a sketch with these dimensions.

I added some construction lines to get a center point for the shape so that I can center it with the frame.

I then drew a 300mm wide square and drew two construction lines and then used the split tool on both shapes to get a center point.

Then added a coincedent constraint between the two point to center the shape into the frame.

In order to get a surface I can use as a drawing, I extruded the sketch by 1mm.

I then created a new drawing, deleted all the elements then placed the part as base with 1:1 scale.

The exported the drawing as a PDF file and opened it in Inkscape.

Cutting the file

The target is to cut the shape with a frame to be applied to a 30cm width square piece of glass.

I loaded the Vinyl piece by setting the option "Piece" on the screen, feeding to the back and closing the clamp.

The machine moved to discover the dimensions and after that process finished I pressed the "Test" button to test the cutting force which was successful.

In Inkscape, I sent the file to be printed.

I noticed that the machine cut the frame but not the shape so I un-grouped the vector in Inkscape and removed the outer frame and left the central shape which did the trick.

I applied the vinyl sheet on the glass using a flat piece of acrylic.