Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Laser cutting

This short film explains the process of laser cutting, which is when high-powered laser is used to cut, etch or engrave a material.

Laser cutting is an increasingly common technique taught in schools. It can be used to create one-off or batch-produced components.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • How can tools like laser cutters be used to easily ‘scale up’ production?
  • What are the advantages of using CAM tools like laser cutters, 3D Printers and CNC lathes or milling machines for designers and manufacturers?
  • How could a tool like this be used for prototyping products or components?
  • Laser cutting is one of the ways to cut metals used industry. Can students think of, or research, any others?
  • Why is it an advantage to use CAD/CAM in design and manufacture?
  • What are the potential environmental impacts of using machines like this?
  • In what ways has CAD/CAM revolutionised manufacture in recent years?
  • What are the effects of CAD/CAM on the way people work?

Suggested activities

Design and make your own:

  • Bag tag

  • Bookmark

  • Slot together box/car/animal/festival decoration

  • Use laser cutting to make components for a lighting project or a piece of acrylic jewellery, or an articulated feature for a mechanical toy, or an etched, personalised clock face

  • Use this process to create a massive range of components for your KS4 iterative design project.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd and 4th level in Scotland.

More from this series

Pop riveting
Block foam modelling
Finishing wood