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Laser cutter-related policy violations have consequences. Some of these will incur fines, some will involve access suspension, and others will have both.

Access & Certification

To use the laser cutters, you must:

  • be a member of the School of Architecture community AND
  • purchase a Digital Fabrication Subscription for the semester AND 
  • be certified for laser cutter use*

*To become certified, you must:

  1. Email the Tech Desk to request to be added to the Laser Cutter Certification course
  2. Review all of the material in each module and complete the quizzes with 100%
    • You only have three attempts to receive a 100%
      • Email the Tech Desk to request an additional attempt if you require more than three
    • Take your time and read each question carefully
    • Incorrect answers will point you toward the page you still need to review
  3. Score a 100% on the "Laser Cutter Certification Exam"
    • You only have three attempts to receive a 100%
      • Email the Tech Desk to request an additional attempt if you require more than three
    • Take your time and read each question carefully
  4. Only after scoring a 100% on all Quizzes and the Exam, schedule a time for in-person training with a member of the Tech Desk staff through Bookings
    • Once certified, you will be added to the registry of certified users for the laser cutters

Approved Materials

Prohibited Materials

Health and

You must have been trained, certified and paid the per-semester subscription to use the laser cutter.

Laser Cutter Training

Using the Waitlist

How to Prepare Your File

How to Use the Laser Cutter

Settings/Materials

Laser Cutter Policies

General/Waitlist

    • If you are having EID access problems with the laser cutter systems, contact Technology Desk at 512-471-1189. Only the Technology Desk staff are permitted to give you access to the system. Do not get another student to log in for you or share your EID credentials, as this can result revoking of privileges for both students, as described below.
    • Infractions of laser cutter or any other Technology Lab policies may result in privileges being revoked.
    • Operating the laser cutter without being trained or paying the subscription for the semester may result in privileges being revoked.
    • Operating the laser cutter under someone else's login may result in privileges being revoked for you as well as for the person who allowed you access to the system. If you are found to be logged into the laser cutter computer with someone else’s credentials, both you and the person who shared their information may have their access revoked for the rest of the semester.
    • Each person can use laser cutters for up to 2 hours at a time; after that, they will be automatically logged out of the machine and the next person in line will be assigned to use it. If there is no one waiting, you can renew the session. If there are people waiting, you must sign onto the waitlist again.
    • Use of more than one laser cutter at the same time is only permitted when there is no one on the waitlist.
    • If you notice that the laser cutter requires cleaning or maintenance, please notify the Technology Desk staff immediately in person or by calling 512-471-1189.

Training and Subscription

    • In order to use the laser cutters the student, faculty, or staff must
      • complete laser cutter training AND
      • complete in-person certification with a member of the Technology Lab staff AND
      • pay the per-semester subscription.

Safety

  • Although this system uses a CO2

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  •  laser that could damage your eyes or skin with direct contact, it uses both a system of safety interlocks and an IR-absorbing window on the top door, making the laser cutter safe to use without goggles or other safety gear

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    • Please note that the intense light that appears during the engraving or cutting process is the product of material combustion or vaporization

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    • Do not stare at the bright light or risk damage to your eyes

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    • Certain materials require close supervision, but you should still avoid looking directly at the combustion/vaporization
    • Additionally,

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    • the Red Dot Pointer

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    • that appears on the material is just a positioning help, not the laser beam itself

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    • ; however,

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    •  do not stare at the Red Dot Pointer or risk damage to your eyes.
    • Lastly, the machine doors are safety-interlocked and will disable the CO2 laser beam from firing when the doors are opened. The Red Dot Pointer is NOT safety interlocked and can be activated with the door(s) either open or closed.
  • Operating the laser cutter in any unsafe way can result in damage caused to your health and/or the laser cutter

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    • Unsafe practices include

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    • , but are not limited to

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    • :
      • Leaving the laser cutter unattended while it is running

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      • Cutting materials that are

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      • on the

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Materials 

Use of prohibited materials could result in the material melting to the laser cutter bed and/or the release of toxic fumes. Due to the severity in risk, cutting prohibited materials will result in loss of lab privileges and possible fines for damages. Please note that the University Co-op sells material that looks like acrylic but is made of PVC and styrene, and is therefore prohibited. 

For more information on materials that can possibly be cut (not all materials listed are approved by SOA Technology), please see http://www.lasercuttingshapes.com/page/materials and contact the SOA Technology office for approval for use on the laser cutters.

Prohibited Materials

    • Lexan
    • Polyurethan
    • PVC
    • Styrene
    • Polycarbonate
    • Vinyl
    • Glass
    • Foam Core
    • Metal
      • Prohibited Materials list
        • Many of the Prohibited Materials emit toxic gas
      • Tampering with the laser cutter's safety mechanisms

      • Turning off the Air Assist feature

      • 'Sandwiching' more flammable material between less-flammable materials. (i.e. a sheet of cardboard between two layers of chipboard, etc.) The result could easily be a FIRE!
  • IN CASE OF FIRE, IMMEDIATELY PRESS THE EMERGENCY STOP BUTTON (located on top of the laser) AND USE THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER (located near the door). 

General

  • If the laser cutter computers aren't logged in, notify staff at the Technology Desk
    • Only the Technology Desk staff are permitted to give you access to the system
    • Do not log in using your own EID credentials, as the software is only configured under our account
  • Operating the laser cutter without (a) being trained AND (b) paying the subscription fee will result in privileges being revoked
  • If you notice that the laser cutter requires cleaning or maintenance, please notify the Technology Desk staff immediately in person or by calling 512-471-1189

Policy Violations

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If you cancel your reservation...

  • More than 2 hours before your reservation...
    • There is no charge
  • Less than 2 hours before your reservation...
    • You will be fined $2.50 per 30 minutes of the reserved time
  • Less than 1 hour before your reservation...
    • You will be fined $5.00 per 30 minutes of the reserved time


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If you have not arrived within 5 minutes (on time for certifications) of your reservation start time...

  • We will cancel your reservation
  • You will be fined $10 per 30 minutes of the reserved time
  • You will be added to the Greylist*

If you leave the laser cutter room to go purchase materials, etc...

  • Your reservation will be canceled

If you reserve more than 90 minutes per day...

  • Your shorter reservation will be canceled
  • You will be added to the Greylist*

If you cut without a Subscription (after the 12th class day)...

  • You will be Subscribed
    • The $50 fee will be added to your WIO
  • You will be fined $100

If you damage a part of the laser cutter...

  • You will be fined the cost of replacement
  • You will be added to the Greylist*

If you cut plastic or wood on Laser Cutters 3, 4, or 5...

  • You will be added to the Blacklist** for two weeks
  • You will remain on the Greylist* after the two-week suspension for the current semester
  • Your certification will be revoked, and you must go through the certification process again after your suspension

If you cut prohibited material...

  • You will be added to the Blacklist** for the remainder of the semester
  • You will remain on the Greylist* for the next semester
  • Your certification will be revoked, and you must go through the certification process again the following semester

Greylist & Blacklist

Violations include:

  • Cutting without being certified
  • Cutting without a subscription
  • Cutting banned materials
  • Cutting acrylic or wood on laser cutters 3, 4, or 5
  • Damaging equipment
  • Sharing a subscription
  • Being in the Laser Cutter room or Robotics Lab without being certified and subscribed
  • No-show/late to a reservation
  • Reserving more than 90 minutes in one day (walk-in time doesn't count towards this limit)
  • Cutting a file with an estimated run time that's longer than your remaining reservation time

The consequences are listed below. 

  • 1st Offense - Warning - Greylist
  • 2nd Offense - Two-Week Suspension - Blacklist
    • You may not use any services related to Bookings or Usher for two weeks
  • 3rd Offense - Semester-Long Suspension - Blacklist
    • You may not use any services related to Bookings or Usher until the first class day of the next semester

For any questions about the content of these messages, please contact us:

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