Students receive a template base piece that has all the appropriate holes cut out, and they are then asked to design the “head”, “back”, “legs”, and “tail”. Each component requires different techniques. They are:

  • Head: Raster, engraving, and press fit without adhesive
  • Back: Engrave and press fit with adhesive
  • Legs: Nut and Bolt Technique
  • Tail: Universal Snap Fit

Calipers or other measuring tools are absolutely essential for students to create their Omni-Animal, as they must measure the distance between female-male tab interactions. By doing so they develop a spatial awareness and eye for lengths.


  • I start by having students follow me as I create a simple Omni-Animal head. They follow what I do on their own computers as I improvise a design that displays the different techniques I want them to know. You can easily substitute my improvisation stage with your preferred intro to laser cutting.
  • Once the students have a cursory knowledge of laser cutting, I have them brainstorm the design of their O-A and ask them to start sketching out the pieces how they would look in the vector graphics program. 
  • Once they have a basic design, I set them loose on the head. They then move onto the back, legs, and tail in that order.
  • There are template files for the nut and bolt techniques, the universal snap fit, and the base piece.
  • There is an example Omni-Animal in each of the design files. I usually cut out 1 example O-A per 5 students. It really helps with them visualizing their next steps.
  • Showing students past Omni-Animals seems to inspire them.
  • The O-A was designed to introduced progressively more complex techniques. Very few students actually implement the universal snap fit appropriately, but those who do develop a good intuition on material tolerance and give.