Project Guides and Tutorials

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Using the Laser Cutter

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The laser cutters can be used to either cut specific paths or engrave images. This tutorial will show you how to use a laser cutter once you have designed your image.

Instructions for Using the Laser Cutter

Download Inkscape

Using the 3d Printers

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A 3d printer will build your 3d model layer-by-layer. This tutorial will show you the basics on how to set up your model to be run on one of the 3d printers.

Instructions for Using the 3d Printers

Download Cura for Taz 5 or Ultimaker 2


There are thousands of free projects and plans available on the Instructables website for just about any kind of idea, you can simply browse through their main sections or search for a specific type of project to find plans, schematics, videos, and instructions to build or modify their projects yourself.

Making a Tabbed Box using the Laser Cutter


The tabbed box is one of the simplest and most useful things to design for the laser cutter. There are several online applications that will take your input and allow you to download an .svg file that can be incorporated into Inkscape, CorelDraw, or Illustrator. In my view, using an Inkscape extension is by far the easiest way to design your box and make adjustments right in Inkscape itself.

Instructions for Making a Tabbed Box using the Laser Cutter

Download BoxMaker for Inkscape

Online service:

Creating Stacked 3d Models using the Laser Cutter

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The laser cutter can be used to create 3d models by cutting individual thin layers and then stacking them together to create a full size object. This is useful for creating prototypes that may be too large to be 3d printed.

Instructions for Creating Stacked 3d Models using the Laser Cutter

Download AutoDesk 123D Make

Etching Glasses on the Laser Cutter (.pdf)

The Rotary Attachment allows you to mark, engrave or cut cylindrical objects, including pint gloasses and mugs. Follow the instructions attached to install and use the Rotary Attachment.

Transferring SolidWorks Drawings to the Laser Cutter (.pdf)

If you have designed an object for the laser cutter (such as a box) using Solidworks, this will show you how to transfer your Solidworks models into Inkscape files to be sent to the laser cutter.

Instructions for Transferring SolidWorks Drawings to the Laser Cutter (.pdf)

Preparing an Image for Rastering on the Laser Cutter

Finishing a 3d Printed Object

Often 3d printed objects may not be in the correct color or may have a rough texture (especially with quicker prints). There are a number of methods for finishing 3d printed objects, included here are simply a few suggestions.

Instructions for Finishing a 3d Printed Object

Welding Acrylic

Acrylic is one of the best materials to use on a laser cutter because of its versatility, transparency, and ease of cutting/etching. However, acrylic is notoriously difficult to bond with glues and other adhesives in a clean fashion and scratches easily when trying to remove unsightly residue. Welding acrylic is easy to do with the right materials and can create incredibly strong bonds with little to no residue left over.

Instructions for Welding Acrylic

Create Your Own Maker Profile/Portfolio

Add to your resume with a simple profile of your Maker skills and a portfolio of your projects.

Instructions for Create Your Own Maker Profile/Portfolio

Tulane MakerSpace Image Files

Go ahead and play with our logo, feel free to incorporate it into whatever you want. A bunch of downloadable files here, please add to the collection if you create something cool.

Downloads for Tulane MakerSpace Image Files

Make Magazine Skill Builders

Each of these external links to the Make Magazine web site covers a very specific skill. If you're unfamiliar with a tool, material or process, these are the best way to get the background you need.

List of Popular Skill Builder Topics

Full list of all Skill Builder Topics

Measuring with Digital Calipers

Tape measure tricks and features

Types of bearings and how to use them

Elementary sheet metal work

Introduction to metal working

Soldered protoboards for electronics projects

Elementary woodworking skills

Using a carpentry speed-square

Cutting and bending Plexiglass sheets

Carving and smoothing structural styrofoam

Introduction to CNC routers

Workpiece layout - finding the center

Repairing failed 3d prints with hot melt glue

Sculpting and smoothing with Bondo auto body filler

Choosing the right tip for a soldering iron

Choosing the right wire strippers

Taking photos of small objects

First intro to Arduino - make a light blink

Design tools for joining laser-cut parts - also works for CNC

Arduino sound synthesis

Welding smoothing riveting and painting 3d printed objects

Rivets and how to use them

Dual extruder 3d printing - getting started

Eye protection options

PVC pipe dimensions and uses

How to cut, glue and drill PVC pipe

Using .stl files on the laser cutter