Category Archives: Universal VLS 4.6

General Materials List for Laser Cutter

This is a general list I distributed to the Digital Forms class this semester to give them an idea of what could be used in the Fab Lab with the laser cutter. If you have any questions about these materials or additional options feel free to talk to James or Justin.

We have been cutting Masonite and paper based products easily. Some linoleum has been cut as well but it worked best with thinner pieces.  Depending on the density of certain materials it might be best to either keep the stock thinner or just engrave. – Justin


James H. adds:

Here’s a PDF of what the fume extractor can handle: BOFA Carbon Filter Reference.

So for example, PVC is definitely NOT allowed on the laser because it emits chlorine; the fume extractor filters can’t handle chlorine, and according to Universal, it also damages the laser.)

When in doubt about a material,

  1. find the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), see what kinds of chemicals it emits,
  2. check against the fume extractor reference above: can the filters extract the emitted chemicals?
  3. check the Universal Laser website – it has a materials library. Search it to see if your material is listed, and if so, see what it recommends,
  5. if in doubt, DON’T.


We now have this in the lab:



Generally useful documents

The COMPLETE User Guide

Laser Setup & Operations Presentation

General Software Setup

Illustrator Setup Instructions (older versions of AI, but still useful)

General Cutting Tips

General Materials Tips

Lens Description (super-useful!)

Lens Focus tool calibration (super-useful!)

Materials Intensity Range

Materials Settings VLS Advanced

Application Tip Sheets

3D Dimensional Signage

ADA Braille

ADA Tutorial

Application HPDFO Photo Tips

Applique Application Tip Sheet (shown in Corle, but translates easily to AI)

Bar Code Tipsheet

Brick Vector Mark

Brush on Darkening

Calibrating Focus Point of Lens

Color Fill Tip Sheet: Wood, Acrylic & Glass

Color Fill: Acrylic

Color Fill: Glass

Color Fill: Wood

Crystal Embellishments Tip Sheet

Embroidery Glossary

Engraving marble

Fixture to Multiply your Throughput

Glass – Crystal Tip Sheet

Halftone Closeup Example

High Power Density Focusing Optics Tip Sheet (HPDFO lens)

Image Enhancments

Manually Focusing Your Laser

Marble Photo Tip Sheet

Metal Marking Chart

Metal Marking Compound Quick Tip

Metal Marking Compound

Micro Surface Plastics Cutting Tips


Photo Engraving Tips

Photo Sculpture

Print Merge Tip sheet (uses Corel but translates to AI)

Reverse Inlay Steps

Photoshop and LASERS!!!

Laser cutting appliqué video:

Illustrator CS5 setup video (older, but useful):