Digital Fabrication Lab

Digital Fabrication Lab

The Welsh School of Architecture Digital Fabrication Lab is currently only available to Architecture Students.

The digital fabrication laboratory at the Welsh School of Architecture is a facility for the digital fabrication of computer-generated components and models.

Operating Hours – 9:00 to 16:00 Monday to Friday; minus 1 hour for lunch.


STATUS:

The facility closes for the summer on 22nd of June. Access after this date is by appointment only.


A request form must be submitted for all work on the CNC and laser cutter.
Digital Fabrication request form

Laser Cutting

We are in the process of changing the way students access laser cutting. If you have not yet had a laser induction, continue submitting requests in the usual way.

For those students who have completed the laser induction, please use the button below to book a slot to laser cut.
Book Time on Laser

Please remember to cancel any slot that is no longer required and that if you are 10 minutes late, you may lose your slot. Communication is everything.
If you think you may require longer than a 2 hour slot, please contact the Digital Craftsman.

How to prepare your files when submitting for laser cutting

Submit all work as a PDF file. Your files should be scaled to the correct size before printing.
The design should not be larger than 590mm x 800mm and should allow for a border on an A1 sheet. Please speak to the digital craftsman if you require larger sizes.

Documents should be laid-out using the three basic stroke colours as indicated below: Green ands red lines have to be vectors.

  • Blue (Raster Engraving) – This engraves on the surface of the material. This is also used for images.
  • Green (Kiss-Cut / Vector Etch) – This is a faster way of engraving and is useful for creating folds / guide lines.
  • Red (Cut layer) – Laser cuts entirely through the material. Cut layers should always be last.

All placed objects/lines are to be vectors with thin lines and no fills. If your using image, ensure it is high resolution and is embed within the PDF (jpeg, tiff, png etc.).
Make sure there are no overlapping or multiple lines (a common mistake due to flattening of 3D drawings into 2D profiles). These will affect the outcome.
Any cut pieces smaller than 5 mm may fall through the machine beds or could be lost to the extraction. The maximum material thickness useable is 5mm.
If you are struggling with file set up, speak to the digital craftsman.

 

Acceptable Materials

  • Card and Paper
  • Mounting board
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Timber
  • Laser Plywood
  • Laser Grade MDF (EU Class E1 / Medite)
  • Acrylic/Plexiglass/Perspex
  • Slate and other stone (etching only)
  • Glass (etching only)
Prohibited Materials

  • Acetate
  • Lexan
  • PVC
  • Styrene
  • Polycarbonate
  • Vinyl
  • Metal
  • Foam core
  • Any material not listed above

Please ensure sheet material is perfectly FLAT, bowed or bent material can significantly lengthen the cut times and you may jeopardise your slot. Laser ply can be obtained from Kitronic or Timberite

Laser cutting tips


3D printing

The School’s Ultimaker 2+ is available for BSc Year 2 , BSc Year 3 and MArch Year 2 students with the following conditions:

        • Available only during Digital Lab opening times (09:00 – 16:00 Monday to Friday).
        • Users should read the support documentation provided.
        • Digital Craftsman will be on hand to assist.

Files will be routinely deleted from the printers SD card so keep a backup should you need to print again.

Preparing your files for 3D printing

.STL (stereolithographic) files are required for 3d printing (available as an ‘Export’ option from 3DS Max and a ‘Save as’ option in Rhino 3d).

Use the Cura software to convert your .stl files into G-code, which is the file format required to 3d print. It is advised to speak to the Digital Craftsman when setting your file up for the first time, or if you are uncertain.

There is a build limit of: 223 x 223 x 205mm.

Cantilevers at less than 45 degrees will require supports. Cura will automatically add supports where necessary once the ‘Print Support Structure’ box is checked.

More information is available at: http://wiki.imal.org/howto/how-print-ultimaker


CNC Routing

The School has a RouterCAM T-1290 CNC router which is only accessible for 5th and 3rd years. If you wish to use the CNC please contact Matthew Harris, our Digital Craftsman.

Specifications
Axis Travel: 1220 x 900 x 130mm
Max. Machinable: 1220 x 900 x 110mm
Maximum Feed Rate: 200mm/sec (12m/min)
Spindle Motor: 2.2kW (3hp)
Spindle Speed: 12,000-24,000rpm
Max. Collet Size: 16mm
Resolution: 0.05mm

2d Routing Setup | 3d Routing Setup