Laser Cutting & Etching

Need to cut a precise pattern, or do some fine etching? Is the lack of lasers in your life the one thing holding you back from becoming the world’s next Bond villain? Want to learn how to use a laser cutter?

AMT’s got you covered with our LO Barracuda 1300×900.

Getting Started with Lasers

Notice: Ace has restructured our laser education offering in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. We are experimenting with a combination of virtual and modified on-site offerings. 

Never lasered before? No problem. Ace runs a two-hour course, “Laser Cutting 101,” to teach you the basics you need to use our equipment safely. Check out our calendar for the schedule, or our laser Slack channel for questions.

Certification for Experienced Operators

  • 1 virtual class (about 1 hour) – Ace Laser Overview. Folks will learn Ace specific things with photos and videos like changing filters, material storage, okay materials, how to get help, and a basic introduction to the LaserSoft Software. Also, a list of materials to study before coming in to cut. See the calendar for the next class.
  • After the virtual class, folks will be able to book a 20 min. session to come cut something following a start-up/cut/shutdown checklist with a monitor present to ensure things don’t go wonky.
  • Last: Take the knowledge check and get certified. (virtual)
  • Price: $25 per person – See the Calendar for the next class!

Experienced operators are folks with 20 or more hours of operation experience on a similar laser within the last 2 years. These operators are familiar with file preparation, laser operation, and light laser maintenance.

Lasers from Design to Cutting

(Starts in October 2020! Course tickets go on sale September 15th)

This course is geared to beginners. Beginners are folks who will benefit from end-to-end instruction in order to meaningfully qualify as a “certified operator” and more importantly have a successful cutting experience that won’t wreck the machine. 

This offering is available monthly and can sustain a minimum of one 6 person cohort. The price for the complete course is $90 per person

Workshop 1: Introduction to Laser and File Preparation. A 3-hour virtual class where you will learn:

  • Cohort introductions
  • Laser cutting concepts
  • Basic machine function and maintenance
  • Speed/power/materials cucluations
  • Ace specific resources and procedures
  • File Preparation using Adobe Illustrator
  • LaserSoft software basics for the Barracuda laser
  • Homework assignment

Workshop 2: File Review and Correction

All files go through peer and instructor review and we will talk about materials, where to find settings, and cutting simulations in LaserSoft. The session is approximately 1.5 hours depending on cohort size.

Workshop 3: Cutting

  • Each student books an individual 30 spot with the instructor to come in and cut the file they prepared in the class
  • The instructor there to provide guidance in case they have trouble or need reminders. Students follow a start-up/cut/shutdown checklist.

Testing for Certification: Take the knowledge check and get certified. (virtual)

100w of high voltage power at your finger tips

With a generous 1300mm by 900mm bed this laser can handle most projects.

Maker working on a project at the laser cutter

Capturing that first project

New Ace member Danielle capturing her first project on the laser
Ace member showing off a finished laser engraved leather project

Lasers and leather

New Ace member Danielle with her new journal cover

A little bit of plywood

and some imagination. Plus some Oakland pride.


Creating custom enclosures with lasers and acrylic. And glue. Lots of glue.

Leather and lasers

These patches started as sketches and veg-tanned leather

laser cut wood surface tablet case front

Custom tablet enclosure

Red leather bracelet with etched Oakland skyline

Leather Bracelet

This etched leather bracelet was finished with brass hardware eventually.

Using Ace’s Laser Cutter

Laser certification is required. Laser Cutting 101 gets you this.

To keep our excellent safety record, as well as showing experienced laser users the ins and outs of our specific hardware setup, everyone goes through the Laser 101 course.

Is there a fee? 

Yes, based on usage: 50¢ / minute of laser-firing time, as of 12/10/2019.

Can anyone use the laser? 

No. Only laser-certified members can use the laser. To get certified take the laser 101 Class and pass the knowledge check.

How to contact us and learn more:

  • More information can be found on our wiki.
  • Our Slack channel has a section for all your laser questions and discussion.

Team Laser

The laser program is run by a small team and a rotating leadership structure. Learn more about the current team laser and the team charter here