12 Jul

A Visit to the Laser Cutter Cafe

For awhile now I’ve been contemplating the idea of translating my paper cut work into other materials through laser cutting. I wasn’t really sure how to go about this, or even where to do it, that is until I heard about the Laser Cutter Cafe.

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The cafe is located in the Chinatown Experiment pop-up space on Columbia Street in Chinatown. It’s there temporarily until the beginning of August, and the purpose is to expose people to the mind-blowing experience of using a laser cutter. I dropped by on Wednesday afternoon for a one-on-one Basic Usage Tutorial (at a cost of $25), which is a thorough run-through on safety, and how to use the hardware and software of the machine.

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The laser cutter can do anything from engraving a material to cutting out complicated shapes. As part of the tutorial I was allow to create a quick design and then watch as the laser cutter rendered this onto a scrap piece of mat board.

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Here you can see the design on screen, and in the video below you can watch as the cutter embosses it into the material. It was fascinating.

A close up of the two different versions of the same design. The cutter can work with a wide range of materials such as paper, acrylic, wood veneer, felt, cork, etc, as long as it is a 1/4″ thick or less. The maximum size that can fit into the cutter is 20″ x 12″ because that is the size of the bed.

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Now that I’ve tried out a laser cutter I have a good idea of what I can do with it, and how it can enhance my current body of work. I’ll definitely be back at the Laser Cutter Cafe soon.

© Rachael Ashe