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Laser cut lampshade ply edition

This workshop builds on the previous laser cut lamp workshops:

Running workshops

  • Induction to the laser
  • include an introduction to Free and Open Source Software(FOSS).
  • produce take away lamp
  • Basic bitmap image processing using GIMP.
  • Bitmap to vector conversion using Inkscape.
  • Preparation for Laser Cutting using Corel Draw.
  • Assembly and take-home of a laser cut lamp.


  1. Gimp for image clean-up and processing
  2. Inkscape for bitmap tracing and vector editing
  3. Corel Draw for final checks and laser layout.

Materials and Resources

  • A selection of public domain images sourced from the metmuseum, found under silhouttes.
  • Corel Draw template for the lamp outline.
  • One 720 x 430mm sheet of 3mm single ply cardboard
  • One Strala
  • One Ryet or similiar.

Workshop Outline


  • Welcome
  • Demo of the laser, lamp and assembly.
  • What makes a silhouette?
    • What breaks a silhouette?
  • Silhouette examples..

Is this a Silhouette?

Intro to designing for Laser cutting in FOSS - 10min

  • What is FOSS.
  • When to use FOSS
  • When to use non-FOSS
  • What is GIMP and Inkscape?
  • What is Coreldraw?

The workshop as a whole chooses an artwork for all particpants to work on.

Use theses rules to inform your choice.

  • 5 minutes cutting per lamp
  • One feature per lamp
    • other panels can be blank or windowed

Basic bitmap processing to produce a two colour image - 15 min

  • Open chosen image in GIMP
  • Selection and Navigation tools
    • crop
    • brightness and contrast
    • Blur and unsharp
    • convert to grayscale
    • posertize
    • export as a jpg.

Import to Inkscape and Convert to Vectors - 20 min

  • Selection and Navigation tools
  • Trace bitmap tool
    • select best single scan method
    • adjust options (speckles, corners and paths)
    • Process and close
  • Export as PDF

Editing - 20min

  • Trim the fat - be ruthless
    • small shapes won't drop out
    • complex shapes will break
    • complex shapes take too long to cut


  • Grab theply_laser_lamp_4.0mmx1.cdr| template}} and open in CorelDraw.
  • Import your artwork PDF
  • Get familiar with the selection and navigation tools
  • Scale your artwork up to reduce complexity
  • Use the shaping controls to trim or cut by combining shapes
  • Use the Shape tool (F10) to
    • access individual points to correct glitches
    • reduce nodes (in the menu bar)
    • use the curve smoothness slider (in the menu bar)
  • Drag your artwork to a panel

Laser Ready checks

Check all colours are on the rayjet pallete

  • Check line widths are all hairline
  • Save your design as a CDR (CorelDraw) file onto the facilitators USB stick. AS VERSION 172)
  1. Your facilitator will cut your design on the laser cutter
  2. Remove your sheet from the laser cutter
  3. Clean up loose material from the laser cutter bed
  4. Weed your lamp (remove cut shapes)
  5. Grab a light fitting and bulb
  6. Assemble
  7. Take home and enjoy!

Pre-packed zip file containing DXFs exported from Fusion360. Corel Draw templates for one lamp per sheet, two lamps per sheet, and one lamp per offcut sheet.

Laser settings

  • Silhouette 85 Power 2 speed
  • Cut 85 Power 2 Speed

the laser cutter PC uses version 17 of Corel Draw
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  • workshops/prototypes/laser-cut_lamps_ply_v1.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/06/10 14:50
  • by Andrei Maberley