Thunder laser - Nova 35 from ThunderLaserUSA.com
Bed size: 900mm x 600mm x 230mm (35.4” x 23.6”x 9.1”)
100 Watts of Power
Cuts up to 1/2 inch material.
Materials which can be cut include:
- Paper, card stock, and poster board
- Vegetable tanned leather
- Craft foam
All of those can also be etched, meaning an image is burned into the surface. Other materials can be etched, but not cut, like glass, ceramics, or painted metal.
Materials which can not be cut include:
- Vinyl (including fake leather, Naugahyde, "Moleskin" notebooks, etc.) Watch this to see how to test for it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqIU8yAobkc
- Poly-carbonate (it cuts but then melts back together)
- Metal (It can burn off the protective paint or anodized color, but the metal will not be affected.)
- Styrene, styrofoam, foamcore (They tend to catch fire, and they also produce lots of sooty residue)
Also, some other materials produce excessive soot, smoke, or fine threads of molten plastic that can clog the exhaust system. The fan is very hard (and dangerous) to clean. Please be aware of what your cut is producing!
Chart of Speeds and Power (Starting point settings. Materials vary, and the laser may be weaker than when it was new.)
Access and Training
To coordinate users who want to use the Thunderlaser, we have a sign-up sheet online. Reserve your time there. If nobody is signed up and you come to use it, it is first-come, first served, but often members will let you do a quick cut. If you go to the sheet and the dates are wrong, simply change the stat date at the top and all the other dates will update. Use Monday as the first day so the chart runs until next Sunday. But be sure to delete old reservations from the previous week.
Access to the Laser Cutter requires training from a qualified member.
- Read the HackRVA Laser Cutter Basics
- Watch the Training Video Playlist.
- Watch the vinyl test video.
- Schedule a certification with a trainer by asking on the Thunderlaser channel on Slack.
- Laser Certification Doc HackRVA Laser Training Certification.
Thunder Laser video tutorials:
More Thunder Laser information:
Thunder Laser Support
Lightburn video tutorials:
A 30 day trial is available at
You can buy Lightburn for your own laptop for $30 with a discount code. Ask on Slack. The price is for 1 year. After that, it still works, but it will not update as new versions are released. To set up your copy there is a folder on the desktop of the laser computer with screenshots of the device settings.
Advanced Techniques (ie comparing changing one variable, like Interval or Focus link):
Boxes - folding paper or cardboard: www.templatemaker.nl/
Box finger joints: www.MakerCase.com
Boxes.py - wonderful box designs and more. Website and plugin www.festi.info/boxes.py
www.SVGNest.com - nests shapes for efficient cutting (Lightburn makes this efficient with use of "Arrange -> Nest Selected" feature, very neat!)
These are supplied at a site of a competitor to the ThunderLaser company that makes our system:
Epiloglaser.com “Sample Club”. Lots of practice projects.