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Tutorials & Equipment

Smith student using the lasercutter

“What is a lasercutter...and how do I use it?”

Our tutorials can answer your questions! Navigate to the technology below for a description of the equipment, design specifications, and detailed tutorial video. For general equipment help, come to open hours led by our studio design partners! For help with power tools, the eyelet/grommet machine, advanced sewing, or project support, please schedule a training appointment. 


Vinyl cutters are like magic! Imagine a precision blade that can create decals and stickers from rolls of sticky plastic. That’s exactly what a vinyl cutter does. It’s perfect for adding a finished touch to your prototypes, for labeling or creating signs that combine graphics and font.

Design for the Vinyl Cutter

Software: Adobe Illustrator
Compatible file types: .ai
Design considerations: 24-inch maximum cutting width
Materials: Matte and glossy semipermanent vinyl, heat transfer vinyl. Several color options.

To design for the vinyl cutter, use Adobe Illustrator and ensure your artboard size is the size of the vinyl you would like to cut. Most sheets of vinyl have a 15-inch width, with indefinite height.

Quick Guide

To get you started, here is a PDF guide to preparing files to send to the vinyl cutter.

Once you’re ready to cut, follow part 2.

How it Works

The Epilog Zing Laser Cutter is a “printer” that engraves or cuts computer-designed graphics into wood, acrylic, paper and cardboard.

The lasercutter works by focusing a laser beam to a small point that is directed to cut or engrave your part through a computer-controlled coordinate system.

Requirements for Use

You are welcome to use the lasercutter with a studio design partner during open hours. To use the lasercutter independently, please gain familiarity with lasercutting through open hours, our tutorial video, and course visits. Once you feel comfortable operating the lasercutter independently, sign up for Lasercutting Certification via Calendly, or ask a Studio Design Partner for Lasercutter Certification during open hours.

Design for the Lasercutter

Software: CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator
Compatible file types: .cdr, .ai, .dxf
Design considerations: 12-inch x 24-inch bed size
Materials: Opaque, translucent and colored ⅛-inch acrylic, ⅛-inch wood, paper, brown, grey and white chipboard.

To design a file for the lasercutter, use Adobe Illustrator with the following settings:

  • 24-inch width x 12-inch height artboard
  • 0.01pt line width to vector cut on the lasercutter
  • Black line color to engrave.
  • Save files as .ai

Alternately, design in AutoCAD and export your file as .dxf.

You will need to use CorelDRAW to lasercut your design. We provide acrylic, chipboard and wood for your use. Never put other materials into the lasercutter without consulting Laura, as some materials can permanently damage the lasercutter.

The Glowforge is is a lasercutter that engraves or cuts drawn graphics into wood, acrylic, paper and cardboard.

Design for the Glowforge

Software: Web app
Compatible file types: drawings, .svg, .jpeg*, .png*
Design considerations: 12-inch x 20-inch bed size, black and white drawings are best.
Materials: ⅛-inch wood, brown chipboard, opaque, translucent and colored ⅛-inch acrylic.

*engraving only

We have a Singer sewing machine with multiple stitch settings. We have thread and fabric for your use. Please bring your own fabric and thread for ongoing projects.

Are you looking for beginner sewing projects?

Try these links to free step-by-step patterns:

Tool storage case - Make a customized case to carry the tools you use most often.

Patchwork tote bag - Create a bag out of fabric scraps!

Felt faux taxidermy heads! - self explanitory :)

Sorbetto top - A great first clothing project.

Linen tank top (and a button down modification)

Jordy bra (Find a print-out of the pattern next to the sewing machine)

PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP WITH YOUR FIRST SEWING PROJECT!

Want to advance your sewing skills?

Check out these sewing tips and bloggers:

Brooks Ann - sewing tips and tricks

Seamwork - if you want to sew your own cloths

Threads magazine - tips and tricks for garmet sewing

Stitched in color - quilting blog

Cloth paper scissors - mixed media magazine

We have a resin-based Form 2 3D printer and two FDM 3D printers, an Ultimaker 2 Extended and Ultimaker s3. To use, please make an appointment or come to open hours. Before your training appointment, please follow these steps:

  1. Design your 3D file in a 3D design software like TinkerCAD or Fusion 360, or find a file on a site like thingiverse or grabCAD.
  2. Export or download your file in .stl or .obj format
  3. Bring your 3D file to open hours or your training appointment!

3D Design Resources

  • TinkerCad - TinkerCad is an entry level 3D software with an online interface. Any online tutorial should be able to help you, such as our 4-part 3D printing series.
  • Fusion 360 - An extremely robust 3D modeling software, you can make engineered designs to specific sizes in the “model” environment and freeform designs in the “sculpt” environment. To get started in Fusion, complete at least one tutorial video before jumping into your project. Here are some to choose from:

Design for the Form 2 3D printer

  • Software: PreForm
  • Compatible file types: .stl, .obj
  • Design considerations: 5.7-inch × 5.7-inch × 6.9-inch build volume
  • Materials: Grey, white, flexible and tough resin.

Design for the Ultimaker 3D printer

  • Software: Ultimaker Cura
  • Compatible file types: .stl, .obj
  • Design considerations: Ultimaker Extended 2: 8.8 x 8.8 x 12 inches build volume. Ultimaker s3: 9.1 x 7.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Materials: PLA silver, white, red, clear, black. Other colors available. The Ultimaker s3 is compatible with dissolvable support structure.