Making the Cut
Laser cutting is a fantastic technique that is commonly used today to render accurate cuts to flat materials. It slices, tags, or engraves objects such as wood, acrylic, and metal by emitting a directed light beam from a movable head.
This subtractive machining technique is suitable for carving basic to complex designs into flat sheets of material. Although some laser cutters can cut material as thick as 20 mm, most devices operate on materials that are closer to 0.5-12 mm thick based on what is being cut.
This article would concentrate on cutting wood with laser cutters, but if you want to cut wood thicker than 20 mm, it is better to try using a CNC router. That's how it takes several laser passes to cut through dense fabrics and doesn't make a clear cut. A CNC router can handle tougher materials comfortably, but it will create a larger kerf (width) in turn. (CNC routers are also capable of carving wood while laser cutters engrave wood.)
There are two main choices to choose from when cutting wood with a laser: CO2 and diode lasers. After giving a summary of these two types of lasers, we're going to go through safety issues before getting into more information about the lasers, what they can cut, and how much they cost. Then we'll talk a little about the various kinds of woods that you can cut, some pre-and post-processing detail, and finally some resources that you can use if you don't have a laser cutter.
Let's hop into the lasers with that!
When using or investing in a laser cutter, it's important to know which type to use for your project. Any laser cutter can cut wood, but not every laser needs to be cut. It's still best to use the right method to do the right thing.
These are the two primary types of lasers:
These lasers are used in red, blue and green colors and are smaller than the CO2 lasers. When working on wood, it is safer to use these laser cutter machines for etching and marking because of their power restrictions. Few diode lasers are capable of cutting timber, but they are typically limited to cutting thin, soft trees.
These laser cutters are available in a multitude of sizes and forces. When it comes to working on wood, these devices are capable of marking, engraving and cutting with stunning results.
Another thing to remember is what kind of laser cutter designs you're involved in working on. If your plan is mainly to burn pictures or photographs on wood, you might want to worry of sticking to an inexpensive diode laser. In the event that you intend to map, engrave and cut wood, it's best to worry about using a CO2 laser cutter.
Although certain computers are not as powerful as others, they all come with possible hazards. Always note that maybe these lasers could blind you or burn you. Using adequate personal protective equipment when necessary.
Lasers of Diode
Of the three colors they come with, the red diode lasers are the worst, but they can also cause vision loss. Green laser diodes are a little heavier and can blind you to low-cost infrared light emitted by models. Blue lasers are much more effective and more dangerous to the human eye than 200 meters away!
Each colored diode laser operates at a certain wavelength you need to know in order to find the right colored safety goggles to wear.
CO2 lasers are potent lasers that can burn the skin and retina by direct or reflecting contact. This lasers use ultraviolet light, invisible to the human eye, to make cuts. This means that you could go blind without understanding that you're staring at the laser beam.
Working on reflective material will also redirect the beam to another spot, resulting in blindness or burns. Protective eyewear with this laser is nearly always transparent as opposed to the red, blue and green protective goggles of the laser diode.
Not only are lasers themselves harmful, but cutting such objects will lead to the release of poisonous gases. Whatever laser cutter you pick, make sure you do the proper homework on safety equipment and best practices. Knowledge can easily be found online in various forums and from retailers, including this laser protection guide.