Tools:Laser Rules

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Health safety and the Rules

Health and safety

The standard safety applies


  • 1) Never leave the laser cutter running unattended

You should always be next to the Laser Cutter and paying attention to it while the laser is active. I cannot state how important it is to monitor the laser cutter whilst it is in use, it knows when you're not watching and will burst into flames the second you turn your back. If you have to leave the laser cutter unattended, use the pause button. In case of fire: use the CO2 extinguisher by the laser cutter first. If you can't control the fire, use the powder extinguisher and/or raise the fire alarm. We have a very sensitive fire sensor in the space

  • 2) If the Laser Cutter breaks or behaves abnormally, inform one of the Directors

If the laser cutter starts behaving weirdly, doesn't cut correctly with the correct settings, makes interesting worrying noises, any of the ancillary machines (cooler/extractor/air assist) are not working properly or if there has been a fire, place it out of order post on the mailing list for us all to see and let one of the directors know(if there is one of us in the space)

  • 3) Only cut approved materials and never cut materials on the banned list

If you would like to cut a material that is not on the Approved List, contact one of the maintainers, we will do some research and testing (or instruct you to do the testing) to see if the materials is safe to laser cut, if it is, it will be added to the Approved List.

  • 4) Always pay for your usage

The Laser Cutter costs £/hour to use. You only have to pay for the time that the laser is active for, not any setup or preparation time. All money goes towards maintenance and buying consumables like mirrors, lenses and new laser tubes. If there is not enough money to cover the cost of consumables when something needs replacing due to people using the Laser Cutter without paying, they simply won't be bought, rendering the Laser Cutter out of order until we find another way of raising money to cover the costs.

  • 5) Log all jobs correctly in the logbook

Currently, the logbook is the only way the maintainers can view the status of the cutter and how it's performing on a day-to-day basis. It is vital that you complete this for each job done with any power settings used; you can add multiple jobs together into a single log if they used the same settings, material and were all successful. A link to the logbook is on the desktop, on the bookmarks bar or here.

  • 6) Do not disable any of the ancillary components such as the air assist, extractor or cooler

These all have their purpose in protecting the Laser Cutter and making it work correctly, please do not disable any of these for any reason whatsoever.

7) Don't place cutting waste in the scrap bins The scrap bins are only for usable bits of material you don't want any more. A usable bit of material is anything 10cm2 or larger without any cuts or engraving on it. Please snap any unusable bits off to make it as small as possible and put unusable material in the recycle bin

Please follow these rule for you own safety and for the

List of allowed and banned materials


  • MDF (up to 10mm)
  • Plywood (Up to 10mm) Note: Denser/poor quality ply will have trouble cutting deeper than 6mm, use poplar or another less dense ply for 10mm
  • Balsa wood
  • Paper (Cut only, don't engrave)
  • Card/Cardboard
  • Acrylic (up to 10mm)
  • Foamcore (non-PVC variety)
  • Correx (Genuine non PVC)
  • Depron foam (Fire risk, must be closely monitored)
  • Cloth/felt/hemp/cotton (Not plastic-impregnated fabric)
  • Leather (not fake or PVC)
  • Stone (Engrave only)
  • Ceramic tile (Engrave only)
  • Non-resinous wood IE hardwood (Engrave only)
  • Glass (Engrave only)
  • Anodized Aluminium (Engrave only)


  • Wood which isn't explicitly laser-grade
  • Food
  • Body parts
  • Plastics containing PVC
  • Plastics containing ABS
  • Fibreglass
  • Circuit boards
  • Polycarbonate
  • All metal (except engraving anodized aluminium)
  • Polystyrene foam
  • Polypropylene foam
  • HDPE
  • Carbon fibre

You should only be cutting materials on the Allowed list, if you want to cut a material which is not on this list, contact one of the maintainers and get them to OK it first.