What are Laser Cutters?

Laser cutters have been around since the early 70s, but have only recently become available to schools, hobbyists, and everyday people who love to create. They aim powerful laser beams at materials like wood, acrylic, or metal to cut precise shapes. Laser cut objects are everywhere, from storefront signs, to paper, clothes, and furniture. See Etsy or these laser cut images for examples.

What are 3D Printers?

3D printers create three-dimensional objects by adding layers of a material to a surface. They often look like hot glue guns, forming patterns layer by layer until the objects are fully formed. For a review of recent consumer models, see Make’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014. Not ready to buy one? Services like Ponoko, ThumbPrint 3D, or Shapeways will print your design for you. Your community may also have a membership-based "maker" space, library, or school where you can play.

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