Laser Cutter Policies

College of Environment & Design
Laser Cutter/Engraver Policies and Procedures


Access to the laser cutter in the College of Environment & Design is a privilege, not a right. This privilege can be revoked at any time, without appeal.

The laser cutter is a powerful, dangerous, industrial machine. Misuse is very likely to result in a fire. They are a valuable resource to the community and must be used responsibly and respectfully by all. Please treat it as such and help to ensure it remains available by making sure your peers use it in a safe and responsible manner.



Reservations are made using your UGA MyID through the UGA Calendar system on the calendar CED Laser. Reservation requests must be approved by the Tech Staff.  Reservation periods are for 60 minutes and each user is limited to a maximum of 2 hours per week of laser cutter reservations. Reservations that are not claimed within 15 minutes of the reservation start time are forfeit and the laser cutter may used on a first-come-first-served basis.  Machines that are currently unreserved may be used on a first-come-first-served basis for one hour after checking in with the Tech Staff. First-come-first-served access does not count toward the 2 hour per week reservation limit.


Roles and expectations:

Tech Services Staff:

  • The Tech Staff will be in charge of daily operation of the lab including:Only the Tech Staff is authorized to use the rotary attachment

    • Cleaning and maintenance
    • Approving reservations
  • The Tech Staff is authorized to revoke laser privileges or demote user levels immediately for safety reasons or policy violations

  • The Tech Staff has final say on materials and operation of the laser cutter and can prohibit use at any time

  • May only operate the machines during approved fabrication times



  • Must have gone through basic laser file setup training

  • Must come to appointment will all materials and files prepared for use

  • Will have no direct interaction with laser cutter

  • Will not be able to modify incorrect files on the management workstation during appointment time

  • General users will drop off files forms and materials to be picked up during designated times



Only materials listed under Acceptable Materials may be used in the laser cutter.  If you have any doubt as to whether your material is on the Acceptable Materials list, or how your material will behave in the laser cutter ask the Tech Staff before using the machine.


Acceptable Materials

  • Paper >=28#

  • Chipboard - up to 1/8”

  • Museum board

  • Corrugated cardboard

  • Gardwoods (birch, oak, ash) (Note: Discoloration of the wood near the cut/engrave site should be expected. An oil based sealant will often enable the discoloration to wipe off.  However, any sealants need to have cured for at least 48 hours prior to engraving or cutting.)

  • Basswood

  • Hardwood Plywood up to 1/2” (Note: Glue Pockets will prevent complete cut through some areas.)

  • Glass (engraving only)

  • Plexiglas, Lucite, Acrylic

    • Cutting and engraving these materials releases a strong odor.  Persons with sensitive respiratory systems are advised to stay away from their use.
  • Foam Board/Gator Board (Note: DO NOT use recycled boards from previous projects or boards that have has spray adhesive or paint applied to them, or boards with a high-gloss finish)

    • Cutting and engraving these materials releases a strong odor.  Persons with sensitive respiratory systems are advised to stay away from their use.


Unacceptable Materials

  • PCV or any materials containing PVC

  • Pine boards

  • Foam boards that have had spray adhesive applied or are high-gloss

  • Metals

  • Anything NOT listed under Acceptable Materials

If you want to use a material that is not listed, please consult with the Tech Staff before you start cutting.


Materials Preparation

Use flat materials only. Surfaces that are not flat may block the movement of the laser head assembly or the airflow of the nose cone, both of which may damage the laser cutter.  Non-flat materials also will not cut/engrave properly due to the changing focal length across the material.


  • You are responsible and accountable for the use and care of the laser during your reservation. Any policy violations and penalties will be directed to you during this time.

  • You must be present for all cuts - leaving the room during a cut is unacceptable. This applies to individual work and group work.

  • You must use the lasers only during times that you have reserved. Reservations cannot be transferred or exchanged between students, or reserved for other students.

  • The computer is for operation of the laser only. Do not use these computers for working on your project.

  • Beverages and food are not permitted in the lab.

  • The laser cutter is available during pre approved fabrication hours ONLY


Penalties for improper usage:

  • Failure to operate the laser safely may result in (1) loss of access to the laser and (2) fines covering any damage to the machine.

  • The computer that is attached to the laser cutter has all of the necessary software to perform the cuts and/or etch and should only be used for running the laser. Attempting to hook up a personal computer to the laser will result in immediate loss of access to the laser for the remainder of the academic year.

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