Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

Laser Cutting Bureau Service

What is Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting uses a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file to precisely cut a design into a variety of flat materials. A powerful laser beam moves over the bed of the machine, using the CAD file to guide it, and cuts by melting, burning, or vaporising the material. A laser cutter can be used to cut, etch or engrave into wood, plastic, textiles and paper.

Our Studio

We offer a range of services including assistance with file preparation for Laser Cutting. We work one to one with all of our clients to cut their designs.

The CFPR Laser Studio has 3 Laser Cutters:

10 Watt Laser Cutter | 700 x 950mm cutting area
Best for lightweight materials such as: Papers, tracing paper, thin card, mount board, textile fabrics

30 Watt Laser Cutter | 400 x 600mm cutting area
Best for smaller medium weight materials such as: Acrylic and wood up to 6mm thick, card, textile fabrics, leather, paper,

200 Watt Laser Cutter | 900 x 1450mm cutting area
Best for heavy weight, thicker materials such as: Acrylic up to 12mm thick, wood (such as ply/MDF) up to 20mm thick, card, leather, textiles, paper


Opening Times, Pricing and Booking

The bureau is open two days a week, from 9am - 5pm Tuesdays and Wenesdays - overseen by Sarah Barnes. Other times may be available on request depending on the academic calendar.

10 Watt Machine costs £45 an hour | 30 Watt Machine costs £45 an hour | 200 Watt Machine costs £60 an hour

This price is regardless of what is cut, so the better prepared you are, the more that you'll get done for your money. There is a minimum set up fee of £30 which will be offset if you use 1 hour.

£1.00/minute will be charged if a full hour isn’t needed.

Sarah Barnes is the Laser Cutting Technician for the CFPR Laser cutting Bureau. Sarah’s role is to provide training, consultation and a bureau service in laser cutting. The bureau specialises in working closely with a wide range of companies and creative practitioners to meet their specific design and cutting requirements.

Previous clients include:
Architects, Product Designers, Book Artists, Printmakers, Fashion Designers, Carpenters, Design Companies, Fine Artists, Sculptors and Jewellery Designers. For more details visit the artists page

File Preparation

The laser cutters use a CAD file to cut the required design.

For Vector Cutting/Etching, we can use the following VECTOR file types: Adobe Illustrator (AI), DXF, EPS

For Raster/Photographic Engraving:

We are very happy to assist in file preparation and to provide cutting estimates.

Materials we cut

Given the different machines we have in our studio we can cut a wide range of materials. These include:
Wood (but we can only engrave hard woods)
Veneer | Acrylic/Perspex | Synthetic and natural fabrics (not PVC) | Leather
Card | Papers: All handmade and commercially produced papers including Glassine, tracing paper, Arches 88, Fabriano,

Formica | Eco Vinyl film

Please note all materials must be flat.

If you have any questions regarding a specific material please contact us before you purchase.

What we can’t cut:

METAL - We use CO2 laser cutters which aren’t able to cut through metal.
VINYL - We can’t cut any form of vinyl unless it is eco vinyl and doesn’t contain any Chlorine.
PVC - We can’t cut PVC

Email: jesse.heckstall-smith@uwe.ac.uk
Phone: 0117 3285864

For best results please send us an email with your attached design as an Adobe Illustrator File. We will provide an estimate based on the cutting time and type of material being used. The lasers do get booked up quickly so if you are working to a deadline let us know.


Laser Cutting Research

Research Projects

Links with Artists

Bureau Service


CPD Courses


Quick Links

Innovation Vouchers

Innovation Vouchers provide a fantastic way for start-up, micro, small and medium-sized business (fewer than 250 full-time employees) located anywhere in South West England (Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the West of England - not Cornwall) to access our expertise and services.
The funding scheme can cover the full cost for projects up to £5,000, or up to 40% of costs for innovative projects between £3,000 - £10,000.  If you are interested in focusing on creating new products, process, service development, streamlining processes this funding can help you create new services and give you a real competitive edge. If you are interested in applying for funding contact us to discuss and we can help with the application process, saving you valuable time and effort.

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