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Q & A: Cutting balsa with a laser?

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Most recent answer: 09/15/2009
Q:
Will a 2.4 watt laser cut max 1/4in balsa? Will I have to focus it to the smallest beam to get the most penetrating power?
- vic (age 58)
arizona
A:
'DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME', as the standard warning goes.  A 2.4 Watt laser is a dangerous tool.  Even after reflecting off a shiny surface if the beam strikes your eye it can still damage your eye.  If you insist on doing it, you can buy special glasses that will help.
That being said, I suspect that a well focused 2.4 Watt laser will cheerfully cut through a quarter inch piece of balsa.

LeeH

I suspect it will take a number of passes, because a small focal waist has very little depth. My guess is that if well focused it will just take off a thin layer on each pass.
Mike W.

(published on 09/12/2009)

Follow-Up #1: Stopping reflection

Q:
What should I use for the bottom surface to stop reflection? Will ceramic tile work?
- vic (age 58)
az
A:
Try painting it black.

LeeH

(published on 09/15/2009)

Follow-up on this answer.