How do I Laser Cut or Engrave?

What equipment is available?  How much does it cost?

How long does it take?

What materials are there?

How do I choose my settings?


How to Laser Cut

More information on laser cutting can be found in our Laser Cutting Workshop – if you have questions email us at dscommons@uvic.ca.

To submit a laser cutting request, go to https://webapp.library.uvic.ca/3dprint/.

Step 1 – Design or Download a .svg or .pdf drawing

  • Create your own design using Inkscape, Adobe, or similar software.
  • Download a laser cutting design.
  • Make sure the design uses different colours to indicate cutting and engraving, if your design has both.  As a general rule of thumb, Red=cut, Black=engrave.

Step 2 – Prepare your file to be laser cut

  • Open the file in Adobe or Inkscape (or a similar software) to check your design.
  • The maximum possible size is 59cm x 29cm; larger laser cuts will need to be divided into multiple pieces.

Step 3 – Get your design cut!

  1. Upload your *.svg or *.pdf to the web app here.
  2. Choose your specifications – indicate which colors are for cutting or engraving, the material type, and any other special settings.
  3. DSC staff will take a look at the project and email you a price.
  4. follow the instructions sent via email to pay for your order.

Step 4 – Pick up at the library

We will send you an email once your laser cut job is ready for pickup. It will be available from the Music & Media desk during library renovations.


How long will it take?

This varies depending on the time of the semester. During end of term when projects are due, it may take a couple of weeks or more. If it is a slow time, turnaround is less than a week.

What materials do you use?

  • Plywood: our cheapest material, in 3mm and 6mm thicknesses
  • MDF Wood (Medium-Density Fibreboard): slightly denser and darker than plywood, available in 3mm and 6mm thicknesses
  • Higher-quality wood: contact us for special requests.
  • We can also engrave metals such as anodized aluminum, but you must provide the material yourself – email us at dscommons@uvic.ca for more information.


What settings do I use?

  • Settings will vary depending on the type of material selected.  If no special settings are requested, we will use the recommended settings for the material.
  • Specify if you want to cut or engrave your design.  If the file has both cutting and engraving, specify which colour is which.   (e.g red lines are cut, black lines are engraved)
  • % Power: higher power settings will result in a deeper or darker engraving.  Very high power will cut through the material instead of engraving.
  • Passes: similar to power, increasing the number of passes will make an engraving darker.  For fragile thin materials like paper, it may be better to have multiple passes at low power instead of a single high powered pass.

We use a Trotec Speedy 100 laser; any special settings can be requested in the comments box when submitting a request.  

Helpful Links: 

Please email us at dscommons@uvic.ca or drop by our office if you have any questions. Happy lasering!