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Laser Cutter


The rumor is true, NYC Resistor has a laser! Want to get in on the laser cutting action? You can take a class to learn to operate the laser yourself, or pay one of us to cut it for you.  NOTE: if you’re looking for a service bureau, please check Google for “laser cutting nyc” to get a list of local commercial service providers.

Laser Class

Laser classes are taught usually once a month.  Check for the class schedule.  In this two hour class, we’ll walk through all the steps from idea to pressing the “go” button on the laser. We’ll cover safety and basic design skills in Inkscape and you’ll learn how to do a burninate test to find out if something is laserable. After the two hours, you’ll have time to prototype something of your own!

Laser at Craft Night

The best times to come use the laser are Monday and Thursday Craft Nights 6:30pm-9pm. You may be able to arrange other times if members are available, send us an email with a time that works for you. If you’re flexible, including a few different times will make it easier for us to schedule!

Please, if you have not made an explicit appointment with a member, come by on Craft Night. Members are not staff and supervise laser cutting on a volunteer basis. We’re not set up to support walk-ins outside of these times!


The basic rate for a laser operator to help you is $75.00 per hour + $2 per minute for running the laser. If you have taken the laser class and are operating the laser yourself, the cost is $1.00 per minute and there are no additional operator fees!


We have a limited supply of materials available for sale at NYC Resistor. You’re also welcome to bring your own. If you plan on buying materials from us, please email us ahead of time so we can make sure we have it in stock. Here are some examples of what we’ll cut on the laser:

  • Acrylic up to 1/4 inch
  • Wood (not pressure treated)
  • Aluminum (etch only)
  • Paper/Cardboard

Some materials can’t be cut or etched on the laser, for reasons of safety, physics, or both. Here’s a partial list of what we can’t do:

  • Anything containing chlorine. This includes vinyl and many plastics, as well as Moleskine notebooks. If you’re not sure whether what you’ve got contains chlorine, you can do a burn test to check.
  • Metal
  • Glass cutting. It etches OK, but we can’t cut it.

If you have a material you’re not sure about, email us and we’ll let you know whether we can cut it.

The laser bed size is 32″ x 20″.

  45 Responses to “Laser Cutter”

Comments (37) Pingbacks (8)
  1. I have already bought a green alser pointer,it's quite useful.

  2. what is the make/model of your laser cutter?

    • I’m also interested in the answer to this question — my school is looking to buy one. 

      • Not sure what they have but I just got a 60watt upgraded to 90watt from Full Spectrum Engineering and it’s amazing. The software isn’t horrible and imports DXFs,and a couple of other popular formats if your out there shopping. Thousands cheaper than even a used Epilog and the quality is decent for the price. I’m trying to set up a Hackerspace in in Charleston, SC.

        It really is a good reliable machine. It’s not as pretty as the Epilog, but when it comes down to cost per cut, the machine is up to the task.

        • Hi Jetguy,
          I am speccing a laser for my studio and would love your thoughts on your Full Spectrum laser cutter after having time to work with it. Feel free to also get back to me at my email [email protected]

  3. I’ll post the same information to my blog, thanks for ideas and great article.

  4. i heard your laser got fried recently somehow..? any idea when it’s back up?

  5. Does anyone know the size of the laserable work area for the machine at nycresistor? 

  6. Anyone know of the installation and ventilation costs for a medium sized cutter? It would be in an enclosed space that is open to the public. Leads to vendors that do the work is welcome as well.

  7. Where can the miniature embroidery hoops made with a laser be purchased?  Thank you

  8. Would you believe that there is a laser etching company over here, but they won’t even attempt to do circuit boards. I think they use it mostly to etch Ipods/Iphones etc so their laser is probably different.
    The fume issue is a big problem, not least because the chlorine fumes can outgas for weeks even if you ventilate the area well during cutting.

    • The chlorine also eats away at the lens and circuitry of the laser, which can run into the hundreds in repair costs.

  9. What materials a laser won’t cut???

    • It depends on the laser and the wattage, CO2 lasers won’t cut through but will etch the surface of glass, coated metals, marble, granite, anodized aluminum, polished geodes, precious stones, paving stones, and ceramics. There are some materials that will cut but are problematic due to their flammability or the fact that they melt too fast, Styrofoam can flash combust, HDPE melts and can flash combust, Delrin can be cut and etched, but only if it is thin enough. PCBs can’t be cut either, but can possibly be etched, it depends on the type of epoxy used to impregnate the board.Chocolate can be etched, but just makes a gooey mess when cutting is attempted, foods with a high water content can’t be cut either. Glass can be engrave with a line to snap-break, but not cut.

      Low wattage fiber lasers or YAG lasers, can cut and mark thin metal, but dont work very well on organic materials such as wood or leather.

  10. Does anyone know who can laser cut stones, (ONYX, MOP, Lapis, Turquois) wood, and leather to be inlay-ed onto cufflinks, tie bars, and money clips?

    • I can do leather. I have a bunch available too. wood is straightforward. I don’t know about the rock stuff-

    • Even with a Fiber laser, stone can’t be cut, it would shatter. A water jet would be the way to go, but tiny jewelry sized cutting can be problematic, as the pieces will drop down into the reservoir and have to be retrieved from the slurry (icky)

  11. i need a product made can you help me with the process?

  12. Can anyone tell me what it would take to get stainless steel etched. I know that metal is on the no fly list ,but the epilog site and the little booklet i got from the class says something about coated metals. Can anybody give me clarification? Thanks so much!

  13. where can i go in nyc to laser cut metal (copper)?

  14. Does anyone know if Mylar is ok to cut?

    • The wiki shows some settings for it so I am going to assume it is ok. I will double check on laser night.

    • Yes Mylar cuts fine, if you put a piece of dampened paper towel under it, it won’t bead up along the edge, as the moisture evaporating will help dissipate the excess heat.

  15. can you cut aluminum flashing?

  16. how thick could the paper pile be so it cuts though, if the paper is as thick a lets say a postcard? (how make cards can it cut through at the same time?)

    • Paper can be pretty thick…it cuts through 1/4 inch acrylic so really any paper thickness should be fine. Problem I’ve had with cutting multiple pieces at once is they catch fire pretty easily and create burn marks on the project if it doesnt end up completely up in flames. Have done 2-3 pieces with thicker paper weight down, but would really only recommend 1 at a time.

    • As the laser cuts through paper, much of the energy is ablated and best case scenario, you’ll get through 2 or 3 sheets, with the third being partially cut, annoying and time consuming. Worst case scenario, you create a tiny blast furnace within your laser. Fire Bad!

  17. I have a piece of acrylic that I need cut for a guitar pickguard. I have a pdf template. Just emailed the above address.. but please get in touch if anyone else can help me. I just live around the corner.

  18. Can the machines cut leather?

    • Yes, Subverse Industries has a whole line of laser cut leather hats.
      it can be finicky though as leather has varying thicknesses and densities all in the same piece

  19. hello! This is awesome! is it possible to laser fabric (Thicker fabric like suede) on this machine?

    • Of course, just make sure that none of the fabrics contain chlorine or other synthetic substances that may off-gas harmful fumes (to you and/or the laser). Artificial suede is a combination of Polyester (laser-able) and Polyurethane (unsafe, it off-gasses Hydrogen Cyanide, which can kill you).

  20. Hi, i used the laser last night, what’s the paypal address again?

  21. I like your post. It’s a useful information about laser cutter. Thank for sharing the post.

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