Quick Start Guide

Introduction, Overview of Content and Quick Links.

Submission and Machine

Video Tutorials
  • Rhinoceros 3D is installed
  • Download Fab Lab Metal Laser Cutting Template below
  • All geometry is arranged on the correct layout (Sheet or Rotary)
  • All goemetry is linework for CUT and ETCH
  • All geometry is hatching for RASTER
  • All linework is on correct layers (CUT, ETCH, RASTER)
  • All linework is set to "By Layer" for print colour, width, linetype
  • Explode Text (command: Explode)
  • Remove Duplicate Lines (command: SelDup > Delete)
  • Ungroup all geometry (command: Ungroup)
  • Cut order is correct (scroll down for more information)
  • Specify material, name and student ID number in file

Download the Template File here:

FabLab Metal Laser Cutter Rhino 5
Metal Laser Cutting Template

Cut Order

CUT-Primary & CUT-Secondary

When cutting metal, parts often move as they are cut free from the sheet. To minimise the effect this has on your job, we recommend you separate your curves into primary (green) and secondary (blue) cut layers (see image below). This separation of curve colour will order the internal curves to be cut before the external curves; avoiding any parts moving before they are completed.
Example curves showing Primary & Secondary CUT Layers

Engraving Metal

Please note we cannot engrave (etch & raster) on aluminium or brass. Engraving on shiny materials reflects the laser beam back up towards the nozzle and can damage the machine. Therefore we are limited to engraving on mild steel, stainless steel & non-metals.


For any areas of solid hatch geometry place these on the black RASTER layer. Raster engraving has a great result on both mild & stainless steel. Keep in mind it is quite a slow process and if you have a lot of raster engraving your job can get expensive quite quickly due to time costs.


For any vector engraving place these on the red ETCH layer. The result when etching on steel is a faint marking great for surface detailing, reference lines, or annotating parts to help with assembly. Etch lines on metal are not deep enough to be used as crease lines like you would on other thin materials. If you want to fold metal you will need to use the Magnabend during post-processing.

Machine Parameters

  • Maximum sheet area: 1300mm x 1270mm
  • Maximum tube length: 700mm, the actual cut area is 650mm.
  • Maximum tube diameter: 101.6mm
  • Minimum cut distance: Metal is prone to melting and warping under heat. Therefore it is recommended that the minimum cut distance is no less than the material thickness, For example 3mm Mild steel will have a minimum cut distance of 3mm.

Sheet Jobs

Sheet mode works with 2D vector and solid hatch geometry to cut through a variety of sheet materials, just like our Epilog Fusion lasers you should be familiar with. For an in-depth guide on sheet jobs please refer to "Sheet Cutting" to see what is possible.
Sheet Template for Metal Laser Cutting

Maximum Cut Area

The maximum cutting area of the Kern LaserCell is 1300 x 1270mm. Materials larger than this dimension must be cut or broken into smaller pieces before submitting it to the FabLab.
Most of the sheet metal at the Fab Lab comes in 1200 x 1200mm sheet size. The dimensions of the material border provided in the template are suited to match the sheet metal we stock. If your material differs to this, the template border size can be edited to match your material.

Material Boundary Offset

To ensure the cut objects are accurate, all geometry must be offset by at least 20mm from the material boundary. Curves close to the sheet edge risk being inaccurately processed.

Multiple sheets required

If you require more than one sheet in your job file just copy and paste the base template for the number of sheets you need. Rename your material type and thickness, student name and sheet number/s.

Rotary Jobs

Rotary mode works with 2D vector and solid hatch geometry, rotated around a 3D rotary axis. For an in-depth guide on rotary jobs, please refer to "Rotary Cutting" to see what is possible.
Rotary Template for Metal Laser Cutting

Clearance zones

The rotary template includes clearance zones on either side of the cutting zone. This is due to the chuck mechanism that holds the cylindrical stock in place at each end. The laser head can’t move through these clearance zones as it will collide with other parts of the machine. Please place your geometry only in the cutting zone

Unrolled Pipe Templates

It is important to know the diameter and corresponding circumference of your cylindrical stock before setting up your file. We have provided a number of unrolled pipe templates to the right of the Rotary template. These sizes are based on the diameter of steel tube we stock. Select the correct unrolled pipe layout for your desired material and place it into the cutting zone. You can then proceed to add your unrolled 2D curves onto the template.
Unrolled Pipe Templates
If you are supplying your own cylindrical stock and it's diameter does not match one of the templates provided, you must edit the Y-axis dimension of your unrolled pipe so it is equal to the stock circumference.

Multiple Pipes Required

If you require more than one pipe cut just copy and paste the base template for the number of pipes you need. Rename your material type and thickness/ diameter, student name and sheet number/s.
Cost: $1.00 per minute + material costs
Mild Steel
Prone to rusting. Powder-coat or Spray Paint.
Looks great polished. Doesn't Rust. Can be Painted.
Looks great polished. Doesn't Rust. Can be Painted or Anodized.
Looks great polished.

Sheet Percentage & Material Cost

When using larger sheet material, the Fab Lab does not require you to purchase the entire sheet of material. You will only be charged for the percentage of the sheet that you use. Please note a bounding box plus a small wastage is placed around your geometry when calculating the material cost of your job. Therefore the better you set up and nest your project, the cheaper your material cost will be.
Pipes on the other hand come in set lengths (pre-cut to fit in the rotary chuck) and you must purchase the whole length.
Material prices can be found here. Please note the prices listed are for FULL sheets. Along with your sheet percentage you can use this to estimate your job material cos
Once you are confident your file is ready, please submit job here:
If you would like to speak to one of our technicians about a specific job or project, please book a consultation here: