The Prototyping Library was created to showcase standards of excellence for many processes in making. Currently, the Prototyping Library exists for the laser cutter and others (3D printing, plasma cutting, more) are under development.

The prototyping library was created by Matthew Wettergreen at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. If you have a submission, want to share how your facility is using the prototyping library or see an error, please contact Matthew.

A paper presented at the 2017 International Symposium on Makerspaces (ISAM2017) can be found here.

How to use the Prototyping Library

The Prototyping Library is designed to be ready to download and make using your own facility’s machines. For the prototyping library, download the vector files for one of the parts. Modify the fields for your own laser cutter: machine specs, material specs, operator, cut settings. Then, make the part on your laser cutter.

Feel free to customize any of the parts. The entire library is released as Open Source Hardware. Documents and files are released as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If your material is thicker or thinner than the stock material, you will need to adjust finger joints and other fine features.

Acknowledgements and Sources

This library constitutes several years of development and is the physical product of multiple iterations of training and communication between professor and student.
There are a number of inspirations, sources, and acknowledgments that have contributed directly or obliquely to this project.


This project was conceived of, designed, iterated, and initially built for use solely at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen.  All of the faculty, staff, and directors have provided some type of feedback or editing. That includes Maria Oden, Amy Kavalewitz, Carlos Amaro, Danny Blacker, Joe Gesenhus, Marilee Dizon, Sukhaina Ahmed.

Some of the photos on this site were taken by Marilee Dizon, where noted.

Initial work on this library included assistance by a number of students including Josiah Grace, Reed Thornburg, Mac Lockard, Amber Wang, Colin Shaw, and others from the 2013 OEDI program. Final work, editing, and cleaning of this library were completed by Filipe Coelho over the summer of 2014. Without his help, this library would not have been completed to the level of consistency.

The initial work for this prototyping library was funded with a prototyping grant from the Brown Foundation. Ongoing funding for this work is supported by Dr. Wettergreen’s research funds paid in exchange for mentoring ENGI 120 teams.

Work Sources

In 2012 Sean Michael Ragan wrote a post about CNC Panel Joinery for Make magazine. This was an early inspiration for the library though work on it had already begun. This post is a must-read for anyone looking to use the laser cutter for wood-based projects or to understand the capabilities of the laser cutter in narrative and pictorial form.

MS Raynsford‘s blog is an expert level display of the capabilities of a laser cutter. This gentleman fully understands how to break the 2D nature of the laser cutter to create real-world objects with complex geometry. Mr. Raynsford was similarly inspired by the Make post and created a number of examples, more than a number of which were inspired or adapted from his work.

Digital Wood Joints is an exceptional reference on the use of wood joining techniques with CNC processes. Several joints from this book were adapted for use in the laser cutter.

Individual references or file inspirations are listed, where applicable, on the specific files.

Pedagogical Models

Growing Up Digital…Among many others…this paper is on the topic of a bricolage learning style and the acquisition of explicit vs. tacit knowledge.


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