Tools to Cut Wood With a Laser

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Cutting wood with a laser is simple and easy. There are many laser cutting machines that can cut, engrave and etch wood quickly available for either business or personal use. The machines do not require many other tools to operate, but there are tools that can increase the quality and ease with which the machine can cut the wood.

Laser Cutting Machine

  • There are many of these machines available. Some are capable of cutting through steel with their 3,000-watt bulbs, while some are more suited to wood and use lower wattage bulbs. They work by focusing the light of the bulb through mirrors and lenses into a powerful laser beam. This is then slowly moved over the material, which remains stationary in the cutting machine, in rows much like an old dot matrix printer. This process of laser cutting is called rastering. The other method of cutting is vectoring. With vectoring, the laser moves from point to point, programmed from a computer. Laser cutting machines can have the strength of the laser adjusted to allow them to cut at different depths or to only engrave the material. They work the same as a home computer, requiring drivers and a design program to lay out what needs to be cut. (Corel, AutoCAD and Publisher are all suitable for this.)

Focusing Tools

  • If you wish to change the size of the laser beam or the intensity, you will require focusing tools. These come in a number of different strengths, allowing you to create large cuts or perform highly detailed cuts. Most simply attach onto the laser cutting machine, by a snap clip or screw top. Every machine is different, however, so it is important to check the user manual to find out which focusing tools are required for type of cutting machine you have. Another use of focusing tools is as a quick replacement for worn-out or dirty lenses. They can be quickly installed and used as a temporary measure while your main lens is being cleaned or replaced.

Holding Materials In Place

  • Securing your material to be cut on the laser bed is simple. All you need is a light sheet that is preferably raised from the laser bed. Putting down a sheet onto the laser bed stops the laser from cutting it or marking the laser bed. Cardboard that is honeycombed is excellent as well as a small metal grate. Be warned that if you are cutting all the way through a material, then the grate or sheet may also be marked. This shouldn’t be too much of a trouble, but you may need to replace them over time.

Air Assist

  • Air assist may come standard on your cutting machine, but not all machines have this feature. It is a small cable that attaches onto your machine and blows air directly onto where the cut is being made by the laser. This provides a cleaner cut as well as helping to stop any flashback onto the lens. Check your user manual to see if your machine has this feature. If not, there are many online retailers as well as stores that sell these devices.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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