Small Vacuum Former

Small Vacuum Former

Quick start video found here

  1. Turn on the machine by turning the right hand knob to the desired temperature and wait for the flashing yellow light to turn green
  2. Sandwich your material in between the trays and clip together using the handles
  3. Press the frames into upper position
  4. Place mold on the vacuum bed
  5. Check the plasticity of the material by eye
  6. Press the frames into the lower position to trigger the vacuum
  7. Unclip the traps and remove you part 
  8. Turn off the machine
  • Cost: free
  • Size 200mmx200mm
  • No undercut on the mold
  • PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol)
  • PS (Polystyren / Polystyrol)
  • PVC (Polyvinylchlorid)
  • PMMA (Polymethylmethacrylat (Plexiglas, Acrylglas))
  • PE (Polyethylen)
  • 0.3mm to 8mm thick

Material for the mold:

  • heat resistant material
  • metal
  • wood
  • foam (thermoset)
  • Plaster


Helpful quick start video found here
    1. Turn on the machine by turning the temperature knob (1) to your desired setting. We would suggest using the setting “5” to begin with.
    2. Wait for the heater (2) to reach temperature. The flashing yellow light will turn green once this has happened.
    3. Unclip the top tray (4) from the bottom tray (3) by lifting the outer part of the yellow handles (5).
    4. Lift the upper tray (4) and place your material underneath on top of the lower tray (3)
    5. Clip the trays together with material in between. This can be done by applying downwards pressure on the trays followed by clipping the outer yellow handles downwards.
    6. Use the inner part of the yellow handles to press both trays and material into the upper position. It should lock in place about 5cm away from the heater.
    7. Place your mold on the vacuum bed (6)
    8. Wait for the material to heat up. Keep an eye on it to check on the plasticity. Once the material droops downwards by about 5cm it is ready.
    9. If you have to produce many of the same pieces, it may be a good idea to use your phone timer check long your material takes to reach the optimal plasticity. 
    10. Use the yellow handle to press the both trays downwards which will trigger the vacuum bed.
    11. Wait 10 seconds and then remove your material and mold.
    12. Turn off the machine

Trotec Laser Cutter

Trotec Laser Cutter

Please review the laser cutter checklist here in order to maximize efficiency during the end of semester busy period.

General Information

  • 3. Semester or higher
  • Laser introduction completed and passed
  1. Turn on the laser cutter and computer
  2. Unlock the machine with your ETH card
  3. Place the material onto the laser bed
  4. Pull down the protective cover and focus
  5. Import your PDF into Ruby
  6. Choose placement and material
  7. Cut
  8. Turn off the laser cutter and the computer after use

Cost: 20.- / h  (starts from login time!)
Area: 1000mm x 600mm
File: PDF, RGB colors, vector-based, no groups


  • Cut = Red (RGB 255,0,0) (Hairline / 0.01pt / 0.01mm thick)
  • Engraved Line = Black (RGB 0,0,0) (Hairline / 0.01pt / 0.01mm thick)
  • Engraved Area = Blue (RGB 0,0,255)
  • Acrylic Glass (Plexiglas, PMMA) (0.5mm to 10mm)
  • Paper (up to 300g)
  • Corrugated Cardboard (0.5mm to 4mm)
  • Cardboard (0.5mm to 4mm)
  • Air-Ply (0.5mm to 2mm)
  • Poplar Plywood (3mm to 10mm)

  • PDF Export Guide for various CAD programs
  • Convert fonts to paths
  • Pay attention to closed paths (the laser is as accurate as the file)
  • No cut masks, no groupings, no compound paths
  • Try to void duplicate lines
  • No paths beyond or exactly at the edge of your file
  • Try to join lines into closed polylines
  • Try to avoid line segments smaller than ~0.5mm (can result in not being able to cut your file!)

Laser 2-6 HIL

  1. Unlock the machine with your ETH card at the entrance door
  2. Turn on the laser cutter by turning the key to the right (1)
  3. Place the material on the upper left corner of the laser bed and pull down the cover
  4. Move the laser head over the material with the navigation keys (2)
  5. Focus on to the material surface by pressing both AF-keys at the same time (3). For Laser 1, follow instructions below
  6. If you want to start your file at a specific spot drive there manually with the navigation keys (2)
  7. As soon the laser job started you can anytime stop the process with the “Pause/Play” key. (4)

Turn on


Place material in the top left corner


Place laser head over material



Laser 1 HIL and Lasers at ONA Workshop

The Laser 1 and the Lasers at ONA workshop work basically the same as all the other laser cutters, only the laser focus must be differently.

  1. Move the laser-head over the material.
  2. Mount the distance gauge.
  3. Raise the laser bed incrementally until the distance gauge falls off.
  4. Store the distance gauge. The laser cutter is now in focus.

Ruby (Laser Software)

  • Open the laser software “Ruby”
  • Log in with the auto-filled credentials if necessary 
  • If the message “Job Control isn’t running. Do you want to switch to Ruby?” appears, accept it with “Yes”

Tab 1: Import (1) your PDF (2)

If “Error” appears check Troubleshoot

Tab 2: Delete the white area around your drawing (1) or skip with “create job”

Tab 3: The position of the laser (1) should be visible and can be used to position your file. Choose the material from the drop down menu (2). Check how long the job will take with the clock button (3). Then continue with “push to laser” (4).

Tab 4: Check the material settings and start the laser process (1).

Please clean your workspace and turn off machine and computer after you’ve finished cutting.


Check that there are

  • only necessary lines
  • Boarder 600mmx1000mm or less
  • no watermarks or hatches
  • only RGB colors
  • hairlines set to 0.01mm/0.01pt

To edit  (do this only if Ruby can’t load your file!) your file either

  • open it in Illustrator and switch to vector mode
  • or use the Adobe Acrobat Reader and switch to edit mode

How to fix hairlines in Adobe Acrobat Reader:
  1. Go to “Print Production”
  2. Choose “Fix Hairlines” 
  3. Set the target value to 0.01mm/0.01pt
  4. Save the file

If that does not work, try printing your file as a PDF in Acrobat Reader: 

  1. Click “Print file” or press “Ctrl”+”P” to open Adobe Print.
  2. In the Printer drop-down menu select “Adobe PDF”.
  3. Press “Print”.
  4. Wait until “Save PDF file as” window opens. Once open, select where you want to save your PDF (e.g. “Desktop”).
  5. Save PDF.
  6. Try importing the PDF into Ruby.

Check if

  • the material settings are correct 
  • autofocus is set correctly
  • your material is flat – even 1-2mm can make an enormous difference!

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a staff member so the preset can be optimized and report the problem here: complaint form

In some cases the laser-job can be continued with the “Play” button. If this doesn’t work you’ll have to restart the machine and check your file in-depth. Often geometries with too many anchor points or very small line-segments (< 0.5mm) lead to this problem.

To solve this problem try to redraw the lines in question or repair them in your CAD software by rebuilding the curve with less control points.

Vacuum Former

Vacuum Former

  1. Unlock the machine with your ETH card
  2. Turn on the machine and heating elements
  3. Place mold on the lifting platform
  4. Install the material in the frame
  5. Heat up the material
  6. Lift the platform and turn on the vacuum pump
  7. Remove the part and turn the machine off
  • Cost: free
  • Frame small: 200x220mm, material: 230x260mm
  • Frame big: 230x430mm, material: 260x460mm

Regarding the mold:

  • no undercut on the mold
  • include taper angles of a few degrees
  • PS (Polystyren / Polystyrol)
  • PVC (Polyvinylchlorid)
  • PMMA (Polymethylmethacrylat (Plexiglas, Acrylglas))
  • PE (Polyethylen)
  • 0.3mm to 8mm thick

Material for the mold:

  • heat resistant material
  • metal
  • wood
  • foam (thermoset)


  1. Turn on the machine with your ETH card
  2. Turn the machine on with the main switch (1)
  3. Turn on the needed heating elements (2). Normally all elements are to be set to MAX.
  4. Activate the heating elements (3)
  1. Install the desired frame (small or large) and clamp it down (4)
  2. Insert your form in the center of the lifting platform (5)
  3. Insert the material and clamp it down (6)
  4. Slide the heating element over the material (7)
  5. Check the progress of the heating (varies with thickness and material), material should deform in order to be moldable.
  6. Slide the heating element (7) back, lift the platform with the lever to the left (8) and turn on the vacuum pump (9) shortly afterwards by pushing the switch up.
  7. Press the counterpressure button (10) for an easier removal later
  8. Loose the frame and remove your objects, turn off the heating elements and the machine with the main switch.


  • Drill holes where possible
  • Heat up the material even more
  • Reduce heat or heating time
  • Reduce the temperature and increase the time if you have thicker material
  • Use a mold release agent
  • Increase the taper angle
  • The material got too hot

Zünd Cutter

Zünd Cutters

General Info

  • 3. Semester or higher
  • Completed the raplab safety moodle course
  • Self study this tutorial
  • Bring a USB stick to the raplab
    1. Unlock your machine with the ETH card
    2. Confirm the error message with “OK”
    3. Import your vector drawing(pdf, dxf) into the Zünd_template
    4. Use vector colours: Red = Cut, Black = Engrave, Blue = Pen
    5. Click the Send to Zund Button, select your vectors and press enter
    6. Follow the command instruction to send the job to the machine
    7. Press the online button the start the job

Cost: 30.- / h
Area: 800mm x 1300mm

  • Cardboard max 3mm
  • Corrugated cardboard Max 4mm
  • Foamboard Max 10mm
  • Set your vector lines to the correct colour. Red to cut through the material, black to engrave the surface of the material and blue to use the pen to draw on the material.
  • Make sure curved lines aren’t made up of too many polylines with a minimal amount of control points
  • Any curved lines shouldn’t have a radius tighter than 10mm.
  • Its best practice to space individual parts out with a minimum 3mm in-between. If you have many small parts very close to one another or touching, you run the risk of cutter tearing material and flipping the parts upwards.
  • The 3mm rule also applies to detailed parts such as window frames. If there are area of your parts are less that 3mm wide, the laser cutter is likely to be a better option for your parts.
  • Export your file to DXF, DWG, PDF or .3dm

Skip this step if drawing for your job isn’t required

  • To activate the pen tool press the following numbers on the control pad

Zund 1 (F3 Enter)

Zund 2 (2 1 1 4 Enter)

  • Use the navigation keys (2) to move the pen module over your material
  • Lower the pen module by pressing the tool down button (3)
  • Place the pen in the pen module. Loosen the thumb screw if it doesn’t go fully down
  • Push the pen about 1mm into your material and tighten the thumb screw.
  • Push the tool down button (3) again to raise the tool.
  • Press Esc to return to the main menu
  • Repeat all the steps above when changing to a different thickness of material
  • Please remove the pen when you have finished and place back in the pen holder


Machine Setup

Unlock the machine with your ETH card

(Zünd1) Turn on the machine by pressing F1 (1)

(Zund1) Confirm the error message with “ESC”

Place the material on the machine bed. When placing your material, please note the orientation of the X- & Y-Axis and the zero position.

If you want to use the pen please refer to the Pen Setup Tab above in this tutorial and ask a raplab staff member for help.

Cover up the area behind your material to ensure the vacuum power.

Rhino Setup

Open the “Zund_Template”  (Desktop) in Rhino 7

Import your vector drawing (pdf, dxf, dgn) with the command “File” > “Import”

Check your vectors are the correct colour, Cut = Red (RGB 255,0,0), Engrave = Black (0,0,0), Pen = (RGB 0,0,255) by double clicking the coloured box (3) that corresponds to your layer.

Move your job inside the material boarder window. leaving a 5mm+ boarder around your workpiece

Click the send to Zuend button (1) in the Top left corner of the screen

Select your vectors. Confirm with enter

Follow the instruction in the command bar (2) pressing enter after inputting each setting

  • Type in the width of your material in the Y orientation
  • Select type of material
  • Type in the material thickness
  • Select “yes” to send the job

Press “on-line” (1) on the machine panel to start the task


Pause and continue the task with “online”

  • Confirm with “ok”
  • Continue with “online”

Contact a Raplab-Employee

  • Zund 1: Click “F7” to delete the buffer
  • Zund 2: Press 3, 3, 1 on the number pad then enter to clear the buffer
  • Re-send the task to the machine
  • Turn off the machine with “shift”+”stop”
  • ensure you are logged in with your ETH card
  • Turn on the machine with “F1”

This may because your material is too small and therefore hasn’t got enough surface area for the vacuum table to work properly. Cover up the area behind your material to solve this issue. Also make sure you have correctly set the vacuum width.

Select your vectors and click on the properties tab. Change display colour tab to By Layer.

Click on tools in the top menu and select “tool layout”. On the tool layout window. Scroll down and check the box next to “raplab”.

Prusa 3D Printer

Prusa 3D Printer (MK3S+)

General Information

  • 3. Semester or higher
  • Self-study this 3D Print tutorial
  • Bring an SD card with you to the Raplab
  • Printer only running during office hours
  1. Slice your STL model on PrusaSlicer and upload to an SD card. Be sure to use Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ 0.4mm nozzle and Extrudr PLA NX2 settings.
  2. Unlock the printer with your ETH card
  3. Put the SD card into the slot of the machine
  4. Navigate through the on screen menu and select print from SD

Check if the first layer sticks to the surface – if not abort the print and report it to a Raplab employee

Cost: 1.- / h
Area: 250mm x 210mm
Height: 210mm

White PLA filament, 1.75mm, provided by the Raplab

You can download PrusaSlicer to your personal computer for free here.

Once installed open the configuration wizard and select “0.4mm nozzle Original Prusa i3 & MK3S+” on the Prusa FFF tab and “Extrudr PLA NX2” on the filament tab. This will Install the necessary printer settings.

PrusaSlicer Tutorial

Open PrusaSlicer on your personal computer. (Install here)

Begin by clicking on “simple” (1). This will hide the features of the software which are unnecessary for a first time users.

Select “Original Prusa i3 MK3S & MK3S+” on the printer tab (2) and “Extrudr PLA NX2” on the filament tab (3) .  If these options are not available, please refer to the “Installing PrusaSlicer” tab located above in this machine tutorial. Do not skip this step. The print will fail if the correct Printer and filament is installed.

Select the Layer height  “0.2mm QUALITY” on the Print settings tab(4). Setting the layer height to 0.2 will give you the best results. As a rule of thumb, the layer height should be around half the nozzle diameter.

Upload your STL file to the plate by clicking the “add” button (5)

We can now move, (7) scale, (8) and rotate (9) the model to the desired position and size.

Before slicing the model, try to understand the best orientation of the object to minimize the amount of support material required.  It is also important to have a flat surface that is large enough to adhere to the print bed. We can very easily flip the object simply by selecting it, clicking the “Place on face” button (10) and clicking the surface that should be stuck to the build plate.

If we do not have any flat surfaces on our object, it may be a good idea to split our object in 2 with the “cut” button (11).

Once your happy with the position of your object, click “Slice now”(6), which will bring you onto the Preview page.

You can toggle between the Preview and 3d editor page (12) with the buttons located in the bottom left corner.

  • Ideally when printing we don’t want to use supports. However sometimes this is unavoidable because of overhanging parts on all face orientations. To add supports click the “supports” (1) dropdown menu and select “everywhere”. PrusaSlicer will automatically add the supports to wherever is deemed necessary.
  • If our print doesn’t have a particularly large surface area touching the build plate, it might be a good idea to add a brim. (3) This will increase the surface area, which can easily be trimmed off after printing.
  •  To check the density of the infill, pull down the slider (7). This will reveal the inside of our model. To change the density, click the Infill dropdown menu (2).
  •  To preview any changes made, press “slice now” (6), once again. This will change the button to Export G-code. 
  •  If we feel that the estimated time (5) is too long, we can make further changes to the infill (2) or change the print settings to “0.2mm SPEED” instead of “Quality” (4).
  • Once we are happy with our setting we can click the export G-code (6) and save it onto an SD card.
  • Unlock one of the printers by logging in to the Raplab touch screen pannel.
  • First check the removable heat plate on both sides (4) for any left over bits of print material from the previous user. Small bits can be easily picked away with your fingers and larger pieces can be snapped off by slightly bending the plate. Do not use any metal tools to remove the parts. This will permanently damage the build plate. 
  • Before putting the build plate back check the heated bed (5) for any small pieces of plastic or debris. The build plate has to sit perfectly flat.
  • Put your SD card into the SD card slot (1).
  • Once you put the build plate back. Click the jog-wheel button (2) to get to the main menu.
  • Turn the wheel (2) to navigate and select “print from SD”
  • On the following menu select your file by pressing the wheel (2) a final time
  • Wait for the heat bed and the extruder to reach the correct temperature.
  • Once the print begins, keep an eye on it to ensure the first layer is sticking and that the nozzle isn’t pressing into the the bed. Wait until of the first layer is complete before leaving the printer unattended.
  • If the machine is running into any problems you can hit the emergency stop button. (3)

Check the progress of the print from time to time.  Once the print is complete, you can log out of the raplab login screen. You can then remove the build plate and bend it slightly. The print should pop right off. Pick of any remaining bits of print material with your fingers. Do not use any metal tools, this permanently damage the build plate. Double check both sides of the build plate and the heated print bed for debris before putting back in place, ready for the next user.


Check if the power and usb cable is  connected to the  printer properly.

Report the malfunction to a staff-member and switch to an other printer.

The print surface needs to be cleaned and a calibration needs to be made. Please contact the Raplab Staff.

  • on click on “Simple” (10).