Laser Cutting the Acrylic Sheets - Size of Cutter Question


Greetings friends,

My group, Robot Garden, out in Livermore just got our Laser cutter up and we are planning on building the ROV over the next few weeks. I noticed that the sheets and cutter base used is 24x18. Our unit is 20x12. I am just now learning how to use the cutter (laser cutters and 3D printing in general is new to me) and have yet to look at the files for the ROV, however, is it a major deal to modify the cutter files such that our 20x12 can still fab all the parts? I assume it is not, but just a few pointers would help if anyone has any.

Thanks again,



Hi Jim,

It is not difficult to modify the files, you can use Adobe Illustrator if you have it (or get a trial version), or a program like Rhino (free for Macs). The biggest piece of the ROV is the outer shell, which is 500mm (19.685") long. That means you'll be cutting fairly close to the edge (the rule of thumb that I learned was to leave a 1/2" border). When you move the pieces around, double and triple check that if there is a cut out shape within a shape that you select ALL the shapes (grouping helps), so that you don't do what I did and cut a couple endcaps with the center hole not actually in the center.

You can also experiment with saving space by sharing edges, just make sure that in your file there is only one line so that the laser does not go over it twice. Rhino has a command called Make2D, that removes all the duplicate common lines.

Hope it helps,



Thanks Jessica. I'll let you know how it turns out.