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3D Workshop

Introduction to 3D Workshop

Laser Cutter

Prices and Suitable Materials

File Preparation (Illustrator)

Things to Consider

Laser cut box options

Laser cut living hinges

Lasercut Checklist

Laser Cut Ipad and Ipod cases

3D Printing

3D Printing in the 3D Workshop

Exporting for 3D Printing

File checking

Ultimaker 2: Printing

Ultimaker 2: Changing material

Ultimaker 3: Printing

Ultimaker 3: Changing material

How to Pay

Useful Resources

3D Scanning

How to use the Sense scanner

Manipulating Scans

Other Scanning options

CNC Router

CNC Router

CNC Cut Slot Boxes

Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

Printer setup

File Preparation (Illustrator)

Preparing to print (Silhouette)

Transferring your design

Available Equipment

Wood Turning Lathes

Drills and Saws

Sanding Machines

Digital Fabrication

Material Suppliers

Introduction to 3D Workshop

In the 3D Workshop students can work with wood, cardboard and a whole range of plastics. The

area is fully equipped with laser cutters, a CNC router, 3D printers and scanners, wood turning lathes,

drills, saws, sanding machines, routers and many hand tools so you have everything you need to

manipulate these materials.

We have an area set aside for plastics where you can vacuum form plastics, cut polystyrene and bend

rigid plastics. The space also includes a spray room where you can apply spray paints and glues.
You’ll need to plan your work ahead and have a drawing ready for most projects.

You are not allowed to be in the 3D Workshop without having first attended an


You'll need to have attended an induction to use the 3D workshop– sign up via

Online Resource Booking (ORB)

Weekly Drop-in Advice

If you have questions about a project, use of the machinery or anything else related to the 3D

Workshop there is are weekly sessions that you can attend when 3D technicians are available to

answer your questions.

Free offcuts of wood and plastics are available, but we also sell a variety of full size materials through

our estore. These materials are for 3D workshop students only, as we sell them on without profit.

Available via Estore

3D Workshop Virtual Tour

Please Note: Some Machines have been removed or replaced since this virtual tour was taken.
Laser Cutter
Laser Cutter

Prices and Suitable Materials

Bookings can be made at the 3D workshop or via email, see workshop website for contact detail. If

you can’t attend your appointment or would like to change it, please give at least 1 day notice.

eVouchers can be bought online before or during the session at

Student Prices : 15 min for £7.50 , 30 min for £15 and 1hour for £30

Staff / Alumni Prices: 15 min for £9, 30 min for £18 and 1hour for £36

External Clients: 15 min for £12.50 , 30 min for £25 and 1hour for £45

A guide to which materials can and which cannot be used with the laser cutter in the 3D Workshop

Materials you can use on the laser cutter


Some soft wood

Plywood: yes if it is "laser ply". Normal plywood has non-laser compatible glue



Acrylic / Perspex

Papery things


Grey card

Corrugated card – single wall only. Double wall and up are fire hazard


Slate – Engrave only

Anodised Aluminium – Engrave only

Glass – engrave only

Materials you cannot use

MDF: Clogs up our filters and smells bad

LaserMDF: It produces perhaps 50% the gunk of MDF but still too much

Metal of any thickness doesn't cut

PVC/Vinyl: absolutely not. Produces chlorine

Faux leather – contains PVC

Laser Cutter

File Preparation (Illustrator)

Illustrator file setup

1. Open illustrator and select new document. This will bring up a dialog box.

2. Set the size of the art board to the size of the material would will be cutting/engraving. For

example A4 for cutting from an A4 sheet of paper. The maximum size the file can be in

726x432 mm.
3. Set art board to landscape orientation, as laser cutter bed is in landscape orientation.

4. Set units to Millimetres. This creates less confusion when dealing with many files and

working with odd sized sheets of material.

5. Set colour scheme to RGB - The laser is only able to translate colours in the RGB colour

mode. CMYK will confuse the machine. This is under the advanced tab at the bottom of the

dialogue box. Image not found or type unknown

6. For cutting and scoring, the line thickness need to be set to 0.01 mm or 0.028pt or the laser

will not read these as cutting/score lines and will not run. Image not found or type unknown

7. Once you have drawn up your file, you will need to ensure you assign the right colours to the

lines to have the machine cut, score or engrave. Image not found or type unknown

For cutting

The line/stroke needs to be RGB Red with no fill. RGB Red is R : 255, G : 0, B : 0.

If the piece you are cutting has internal and external cuts (see image below), the internal cut needs to

be RGB Red and the external cut will need to be RGB Blue (R:0, G:0, B:255). These colour settings

ensure that the laser cuts the inside cuts before cutting the outside cuts which ensures accurate

For scoring

The line/stroke need to be RGB Green with no fill. RBG green is R : 0, G : 255, B : 0

For engraving

Anything that is to be engraved needs to be RGB black. This can be stoke only, fill only or both

depending on what you’re doing. RGB black is R : 0, G : 0, B : 0.


Image not found or type unknown

Laser Cutter

Things to Consider

Things to consider when preparing your files for Laser cutting

Laser Bed Sizes

Trotec Speedy 300 - 726mmx432mm Best for cutting paper and up to 3 mm plywood and acrylic

Trotec SP 500 - 1200mmx700mm Best for thicker materials. Can cut up to 9 mm Plywood and 10 mm


Check outlines

In illustrator, to view in Outlines (toggle Ctrl+Y.) This mimics how the laser cutter will “view” and

process your drawing. If there are any vectors strokes that you don’t want to have cut or engraved

trim using the Scissors Tool or delete.

Purge your file of artefacts

Clear the all guides and stray vector points in your file to avoid confusion, a bad cut and wasted time.

1. Select Select > Object > Stray Points to delete stray vectors not attached to a path.

2. Select View > Guides > Clear Guides to delete all guides.

Remove double lines

The laser reads exactly what is in the file. If there are 10 lines on top of each other the laser will cut

that line ten times which will ruin the quality of a cut and also increase the potential for fire. They also

cost more. Laser cutting is charged for the length of time the laser is running. If the laser is redoing

cuts it has already done this adding to the time/cost unnecessarily.

An easy way to remove a lot over double/overlapping lines in illustrator is to

1. Select all your lines with the selection tool (Black Arrow)

Click on the outline icon in the pathfinder panel Image not found or type unknown

3. This will remove the stroke colour making the lines invisible but simply select them again

and add a stroke colour to see them. Now any double/multiple lines will be reduced to a

single line.

This is not a perfect solution as the creating outline command will also divide and crossing vectors

into their constituent parts so if there are only one or two overlapping lines it is best to simply click

and delete them. The above is good solution if your file is riddled with multiple overlaps, say if you’ve

flatten a 3 D file into 2 D.

Raster engraving lines & fills

While you can raster engrave thin vector strokes, it’s advised that you score them. This will be a lot

quicker and will look better for very thin lines. All vectors you would like raster engraved must be

filled in RGB black R 0, G 0, B 0 and it is recommended that you turn the stroke into a filled shape.

To turn a stroke into a filled shape:

• Set strokes to a minimum of 0.50mm (anything thinner won’t engrave) • Expand strokes. Select

Object > Expand > Stroke / Fill

• Set all fill colours to RGB black R 0, G 0, B 0.

Nesting components

If compiling a file with lots of components on one sheet of material, make sure there is a gap of at

least 3mm between the components and that they are laid out to save material and time. Image not found or type u

Small details / cut widths

We recommend that minimum cut widths be no smaller than the thickness of the material. E.G. If

cutting from 3mm acrylic, it’s best not to allow cut widths less than 3mm.

Close Vector paths/shapes

Try and make sure that all your vector paths are continuous. If strokes/closed shapes are constructed

from more than one path, make sure that you join/close the paths.

To do this, use the Direct Selection Tool and select the open endpoints. Select Object > Path > Join

(Ctrl+J) from the top menu.

All text used needs to be outlined / converted to paths

This is to convert the text to vectors and preserve your font. If you don’t do this and we don’t have

your font installed on our computers, the file will open in default font Myriad or Arial. The middle

islands of some letters will fall out when laser cut which can make the text difficult to read. If you

would like to prevent this you can work on the outlined text as shapes and create a stencil.


Select text box and the Type > Font > Create outlines from the top menu Image not found or type unknown

Releasing all clipping masks

You can’t use the clipping mask function to draft a drawing for laser cutting. Vectors cannot be

covered/hidden in a laser file, they need to be deleted.

To release clipping masks select all vector strokes and fills, select the mask then

Object > Clipping mask > Release

Kerf width/Slot together parts

The nature of laser cutting means that a portion of the material is burnt away when the laser cuts

through, leaving a small gap. This ‘gap’ is known as the kerf width and ranges in size depending on

the material type, thickness and other conditional factors.

For a slot together project you will need to account for the kerf within your drawing by adding or

subtracting the kerf width from your component dimensions. Generally for 3 to 6mm acrylic and birch

plywood, a kerf of 0.25mm is adequate for push fit assemblies. This is a starting point, as could

require changing so we recommend building a prototype first.

Laser Cutter

Laser cut box options

There are a few different ways of creating a laser cut box but using finger joints seems to be the

easiest and most effective option for students.

There are websites that will generate the finger joint vector file for you, once you put in the

dimensions of your box and the material thickness.

Box generator websites

For paper/cardboard boxes

Basic finger joint box template

If you are looking to create a box with a lid, the below hinged option is also easily built once laser cut.

Box with Hinge lid

The illustrator file can be downloaded via the link in the side bar.

Heat Bent box option

Laser Cutter

Laser cut living hinges

a good one

a smaller one

A selection of options
Laser Cutter

Lasercut Checklist
Laser Cutter

Laser Cut Ipad and Ipod cases

Download file for Ipad case and Ipod case on the top left of this page
3D Printing
3D Printing

3D Printing in the 3D Workshop

In the 3D Workshop we have three Ultimaker 3D Printers which students can make use of.

Ultimaker is a brand of 3D Printer which uses a technique known as FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling)

or FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication). This technique uses a string of thermoplastic material (filament)

which is pushed through a heated nozzle. The printer lays down melted material at a precise location,

which then cools and solidifies, building the print layer-by-layer.

We have a range of filaments and colours you can print with. Mostly we print with PLA (Polylactic

Acid) a fully biodegradable thermoplastic polymer consisting of renewable raw materials.

The Ultimakers can be booked after attending an Intro to 3D Printing workshop bookable via ORB.

To book a printer visit ORB and select LONDON COLLEGE OF COMMUNICATION (Workspaces,

3D Printing

Exporting for 3D Printing

In order to print with either the Ultimaker or Form 1+ you will need an .stl file.

If you are new to 3D modelling Tinkercad is intuitive and free. It runs in your browser and exporting

for 3D printing is simple (just click 'Export' and select the .stl option).

If you have more experience with 3D modelling then you can use a number of applications including

Sketchup, Blender, and Rhino.

Exporting from Sketchup

This video shows you how to export from Sketchup (note: you will need to export as .stl and .obj):

OBJ and STL from Sketchup from Clint Walters on Youtube.

Exporting from Blender

Export STL from njantrania on Youtube.

Exporting from Rhino

Rhino 5 tutorial: Exporting to the STL format for 3D printing from on Youtube.

Exporting from Maya

3d Print your Maya model from Peter Holt on Youtube.

Exporting from Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D For 3D Printing - Episode 1 - The Basics from Print 3D Channel on Youtube.
3D Printing

File checking

Often 3D modelling software will produce files which may need checking prior to printing. To check

and repair files you may want to consider using Netfabb (which is free for students).

The software currently only runs on Windows. There is an older, unsupported, version of Netfabb

Basic for Mac which you may be able to find online (alternatively you can use on one of the

computers in the 3D Workshop).

The following video explains how to fix files:

3D printing guides - Fixing stl files with netfabb from Thomas Sanladerer on Youtube.

The video below shows how to split files (this can be useful if you want to print large files):

How to cut/split an STL mesh into multiple parts by a plane from Bohumír Zámečník on Youtube.
3D Printing

Ultimaker 2: Printing
3D Printing

Ultimaker 2: Changing material

3D Printing

Ultimaker 3: Printing
3D Printing

Ultimaker 3: Changing material

3D Printing

How to Pay

We charge a small fee to cover the cost of materials. You can see how much material your print will

use in Cura:

Please make sure to discuss your project with a technician prior to printing and we will advise you of

the cost.

Once you've printed you can pay via the Estore.

3D Printing

Useful Resources

3D Hubs

Designing for 3D Printing

Designing for 3D Printability

Getting Better Prints

Painting 3D Printed Models

Finishing and Post Processing Your 3D Printed Objects

3D Scanning

Information on the 3D Scanning capabilities in the 3D Workshop

3D Scanning

How to use the Sense scanner

The Sense is the 3D Scanner available in the 3D Workshop. It can only be used in the 3D Workshop.

3D Scanning Inductions are available weekly during term time and bookable through the orb. This is

the best way to learn how to use the scanner.

How it Works

• The sense projects a patterned infrared (IR) beam onto the object from the bottom opening. This is

detected by the middle webcam, the top webcam picks up colours. This information generates a point

cloud, you object made up of point coordinates. The Sense Software translates the point cloud into

the shape and surface of the object and allows exportation of Meshes and Polygon models

Works best on

• Mid Size objects (1m x 1m)

• Bust Models

Does not work well on

• Small Objects

• Shiny Objects

• Transparent Objects

• Matte Black or Gloss White objects. These surface doesn’t reflect IR pattern well. Different colours

and tones help.

Size Limitations

• Min: 20 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm

• Max: 3 m x 3 m x 3 m

How to Scan

1. Connect Scanner before launching 3D software

2. Choose you object and size

3. In the Settings change the size of your scan volume if necessary. If scan volume is too small

back of the model will be cut off

4. Position your object or model on the X in the center of the Scanning circles and at a height

that is easy for you to scan

5. Before starting position yourself correctly. The Scanner should be focused on middle of your

model.Keep your elbow close to your body. Choose your scanning circle based on object size

• Small objects – Inner Circle

• Mid size objects and busts – Middle Circle

• Large objects and full bodies – Outer Circle

Your feet will ideally travel of the outside of the circle you are using but this is only a guide.

The most important thing is to keep yourself and the scanner at the same distance from the

object as much as possible. Best practice is for you to move around the object not have the

object moving and you static – This leads to blurring

6. For medium and large objects and people you will travel around the object 2 or 3 times

• Middle and Top

• Middle and Bottom

• Over the top

Any more then this and the object will start blurring
7. To start scanning press the space bar

8. Watch the screen as you walk around the object or person

9. While scanning missed spots will show in white. Try to fill in as many white gaps as possible.

Particularly, under the chin of people or any object overhangs

10. If you lose tracking slowly go back and try to realign your scan with the image on screen.If

you cannot get tracking back start scan again

11. When finished simply move scanner away and click the arrow in the top right hand corner to

create model.
12. Move your model around and make sure you have the detail you want. Then click the arrow

in the top right hand corner


1. In the edit tool screen always solidify your model to make it whole and patch any holes.

Other options on this screen are Crop and erase

2. The next screen allows enhancements such as Auto enhance, trim, and touch up.

3. In the final screen you can save. In the pop up window name your file and finish with .stl

This makes the software save in the right format.

From there you can go straight into Cura

3D Scanning

Manipulating Scans

If you want to manipulate your model after you scan there are multiple ways that you can

If you have some 3D modelling skills the best option is to use your scan as a base for modelling in a

traditional modelling software. Both 4D Cinema and Blender are taught in the Digital Space if you

want to learn how to 3D Model

Blender is an open source, free software which allows for traditional solid modelling as well as

sculpting. On top of the training available in the Digitial Space there are plenty of good tutorials

available online and through

Sometimes this type of scan manipulation will produce files which may have holes or degenerate

geometry which will not 3D Print correctly. To check and repair files you may want to consider using

Netfabb (which is free for students).

The software currently only runs on Windows. There is an older, unsupported, version of Netfabb

Basic for Mac which you may be able to find online (alternatively you can use on one of the

computers in the 3D Workshop).

The following video explains how to fix files:

3D Scanning

Other Scanning options

If you need to scan outside of the 3D Workshop there is Photogrammetry software and Apps available

for this.

Photogrammetry is different then 3D scanning but the end results are the same, a digital model of a

physcial object. Photogrammetry involves taking photos of an object that a piece of software then

generates a 3D Model from. has a thorough how to guide which explains photogrammetry and how to get the best

results. This is an excellent starting point to learn more about photogrammetry and scanning objects

outside the 3D workshop.

Software available to to is includes

• Alice vision/ Meshroom – An open Source software

• Alibre Design – Good for 3D Printing, 30 day free trial.

Apps are also available for you phone, though the models genetared are often not as good quality as

a scanner or software generated models.

• Android – Scann3D

• Ios – Scandy Pro

• Both - Qlone

• Many newer phones will have a 3D scan option in the camera settings
CNC Router
CNC Router

CNC Router

Flatcomm M40 - 3 Axis CNC

A CNC Router is a computer controlled machine that has a router or spindle mounted on it that holds

a cutting tool (router bit). It is typically set up with 3 directions of movement referred to as the X, Y

and Z axis.

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. This means a computer converts the design produced by

Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers/coordinates which the machine follows in the x,

y and z axes. This allows materials to be cut in 3 directions. Once finalized, the CAD design is then

exported to a computer aided manufacturing, or CAM system.

CNC machining is a subtractive process using milling cutting tools to remove material. The ISEL Flat

Com 40 in the 3D workshop is a 3 axis cnc router, perfect for cutting 2D vector files from flat panels

and for carving 3D models and molds for casting and vacuum forming.

Materials used on the CNC

Soft wood, Plywood, Acrylic, Polycarbonate, Extruded polystyrene, Modelling block i.e.

Chemiwood/Axson Aluminium composite panels


X – The horizontal/lateral axis or the left to right direction on the machine.

Y – The longitudinal axis or the front to back direction on the machine

Z – The vertical axis and most important axis on the machine. Without the z axis, the machine cannot

create depth. The Z axis what allows this machine to sculpt parts and separates it from the laser


2D machining files

Type of file

Illustrator - Save as .eps or dxf.

Vectorworks - save as .eps or dxf

AutoCad -save as dxf

CNC Router

CNC Cut Slot Boxes

CNC routing is a quick and easy way to create a Slot Box. On the left you can download the files for

A4 and A5 sized slot boxes like the one above. These files are for reference only. They have been

prepared and programmed so that they can be run on the CNC Router.

The boxes are made with a 760 x 506 sheet of 6mm Birch Plywood, which costs £4.00

A4 box Internal Dimensions - 310 x 220mm

A5 box Internal Dimensions - 244 x 158mm

All boxes have an internal depth of 60mm

After cutting there is some cleaning up and sanding necessary before the box is glued together and

clamped. Finished examples can be found in the display window in the 3D workshop.

If you want a different slot box that is possible but it will take longer because it has to be

programmed before machining. Use the files that are available to download on the left of this page as

a starting point and alter until you have the desired box.
Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

The Silhouette vinyl cutter is located in the 3D Workshop clean room. It can be used to cut out self-

adhesive vinyl that can be transferred to a range of surfaces. Files are generated in Illustrator and

programmed in Silhouette Cameo. There is a cover charge of £2. This permits you to use up to one

metres worth of material.

Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

Printer setup
Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

File Preparation (Illustrator)

Illustrator file set up

1. Open Illustrator and create a new document. Create an art board that is the same size as the

object you will transfer the vinyl on to (e.g. an A4 book - A4 artboard.) The maximum size is

700(W) x 300 (H). Set units to millimeters and colour mode RGB.

2. Select all type in your document, right click and “create outlines” this will expand the type
into an object. Type should be no smaller than 18pt (this is a general standard and may

need to be adjusted/tested depending on font style)

3. Draw a registration box that is the same size as the object you will be applying the vinyl too

(in the example this is an A4 document). This will aid in registration during vinyl transfer

keeping all elements in the correct position.

4. All content must be set to black stroke and 0.1pt for vinyl cutting
5. To export go to File > Export and save as a AutoCAD Interchange File (dxf)
The DXF will by default save in the same location as the .ai file. This DXF file is now ready to be

programmed in Silhouette Cameo

Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

Preparing to print (Silhouette)

1. Open your .DXF and group all the elements with CMD+G to retain their position and move

into an appropriate location, this should not be too close to the edge.

2. If needed, navigate to the transform panel (1) and then to the scale options (2), this can be

used to adjust the size of your print incase it has been changed during import.
3. Navigate to the Send section (1) and check that all the settings are the same as those

highlighted in green.
Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

Transferring your design

Transfer application process

Available Equipment
Available Equipment

Wood Turning Lathes

Available Equipment

Drills and Saws

Available Equipment

Sanding Machines
Available Equipment

Digital Fabrication
Material Suppliers

Timber & Sheet Materials

Richard Russell

Acre Lane

South London Timber

Fulham Tumber

Jennor Timber

Acrylic & Plastics



Technology Supplies


4D Modelling Shop




Skateboard Deck Workshop 1

download pdf slideshow, click in attachments sidebar

on the left
3D Workshop
Introduction to 3D Workshop

Laser Cutter

Prices and Suitable Materials

File Preparation (Illustrator)

Things to Consider

Laser cut box options

Laser cut living hinges

Lasercut Checklist

Laser Cut Ipad and Ipod cases

3D Printing

3D Printing in the 3D Workshop

Exporting for 3D Printing

File checking

Ultimaker 2: Printing

Ultimaker 2: Changing material

Ultimaker 3: Printing

Ultimaker 3: Changing material

How to Pay

Useful Resources

3D Scanning

How to use the Sense scanner

Manipulating Scans

Other Scanning options

CNC Router

CNC Router

CNC Cut Slot Boxes

Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

Printer setup

File Preparation (Illustrator)

Preparing to print (Silhouette)

Transferring your design

Available Equipment

Wood Turning Lathes

Drills and Saws

Sanding Machines

Digital Fabrication

Material Suppliers