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Laser cutting device to cut paper of few mm from a red laser pointer

  1. Jun 21, 2012 #1

    i wanted to make a laser cutting device, not the big one but a small device just to cut a few mm thick paper.

    I just learnt from a site(www.ehow.com/m/how_6692865_make-homemade-cutting-laser.html) that you can actually convert a laser pointer to a laser cutting device by rotating the screw in the circuit board, 1/4 anti clockwise followed by keeping tip of a hot soldering iron on the circuit board for 15 secs. I've a class 2 laser pointer with wavelength 630 - 680 mm and max output of < 1mw. I also have a laser that is used in common DVD player. Could anyone help me??please!!

    N if this is not gonna work, could someone help me to build a laser cutting device to cut just a few mm thick paper??

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2012 #2


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    Here's the boring bit - but read it.
    You have to remember that lasers are potentially very dangerous. It has to be true that any laser that's capable of burning paper can severely knacker your eyes. (Blind you). This is why even a tiny laser pointer is still required to satisfy 'the regulations' for safety and its power is deliberately limited to a relatively safe level. That article is showing you how to bypass these safety regs. and it is putting you at risk if you go down that route.
    If you want a hole - buy a drill.
    If you want to burn something - use a burning glass (but still avoid looking directly at the spot as you will still risk blind spots on your retina). If you can set fire to some paper this way, you can feel pleased with yourself. There's more to it than just producing a bit of smoke.
  4. Jun 21, 2012 #3
    Yeah. . . .thanks, but my need, to build a light laser device like one said in the site, is not just to make a hole , but to cut out a medium sized printed image. I've got 1000 of such printed images n another 1000 of such'll be coming soon. I was actually using a scissors to cut it so far. since the paper is slightly thicker than normal, it really gives me terrible pain, it is this,that i tot of an alternative cutting device.

    Guess they are telling not turn the screw completely but only 1/4 of it, may its like they are increasing the power of laser just enough to cut a paper!! Yeah. . I read the fumes are so dangerous, that it can even cause cancer!! Would that be applicable to laser diodes?? Guess its the lasers using gases like CO2. . . . I dont know!! But i really have my doubts!! N what abt using glasses to avoid direct view of the laser??
  5. Jun 21, 2012 #4


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    There are plenty of other cutting methods which don't involve all the hassle of a laser and which are much better than scissors. Use a sharp craft knife on a proper board. That will give a clean edge, which you can even under-cut so there will be no visible white edge. Accuracy will be at least as good as for your proposed laser system, too.

    The laser diode you refer to will only have a finite amount of light output so you are not likely to burn the house down. You can also expect some charring of the burnt edge and those fumes will be there, whatever your source of heat!

    I can appreciate that "laser cutting" sounds very sexy and you could impress 'clients' as well as yourself but you should either do it properly with laser cutting equipment or get out your craft knife. It's the end result that counts and the occasional cut finger is much less of a disaster than an etched retina.

    In the local shop in the Mall in Brighton, they have a fancy cutter (££££) that will cut any shape you want. I'm not sure of the resolution / detail available, though. It's very 'robotic' looking and impresses everyone. Then there's a jigsaw with a very fine blade or a jeweler's piercing saw (sub-mm accuracy with no trouble)
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
  6. Jun 21, 2012 #5
    Yeah. . . I got the point! Guess its good to drop this whole idea of laser cutting. . . Isnt it?? Anyways thanks for alternative you provided. . . ! Its a bit disappointing. . . .yeah. . . I'll go with craft knife. Thank you very much.
  7. Jun 21, 2012 #6


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    Let us know how you get on. Avoid too much blood on the keyboard - we don't want it all over our screens.
    BTW, did you look on ebay for a laser cutter / etcher? Birthday AND Christmas present for a couple of years at least.
  8. Jun 21, 2012 #7
    No. I tot making something the device would be much cheaper than buying such stuff!!
  9. Jun 21, 2012 #8
  10. Jun 21, 2012 #9
    Thanks for the link maimonides. Yeah. . . its in german!! Apart from the images given, that wasnt of much use. . . English version would be helpful.
  11. Jun 21, 2012 #10


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    Something has been worrying me about how you want to use this cutter. It would be rather like arc welding with a heavy filter over your eyes in that you couldn't 'see' what you were doing (aiming your cut at a line on the image) until you had actually turned the laser on. You would need to have a servo'd table for your image with a memory of the cut you want or use a mimic image, to one side and a pantograph system to transfer your movements around the image onto the cutter. All the equipment I have seen is computer controlled - with good reason.
    I am still being your granny on this one, I'm afraid.
    If you would be happy with computer controlling the cut then it would be an interesting exercise to set up the path of the cut with something like photoshop's magic lassoo tool on the original image - to take the 'eyeballing' problem out of the exercise. But that would be a long way from a few components on a board, which I think is what you envisage.
    Actually, you can purchase 300mW power cutting lasers for not many quid. But that's not the problem, is it?
  12. Jun 21, 2012 #11


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    I'm sorry I just don't believe a laser pointer can be converted to cut anything. The most it will do is hurt your eyes. As someone who has worked with laser cutting and egraving machinery I can tell you it takes alot more power than a cheap mW laser pointer.
  13. Jun 21, 2012 #12


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    You could look at rotary paper cutters like this:


    They just run a wheel with a sharp circumference along the edge of the board and cut paper.

    I have used one that would cut about 50 sheets of A4 paper fairly easily.

    Get a good quality one, though.
  14. Jun 21, 2012 #13


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    I am faaaaaaaiiiirly confident that what the OP is doing is a teeny bit more complicated than cutting straight lines.
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