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Laser jigsaw table project - will it work?

128ITSH

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Hello everyone, this is my first post here:)
After disassembling some laser diodes from CD/DVD drives I was thinking, what can I do with them? then I saw some guys who made CNC engravers from them.
My idea is, instead of having a laser head that moves above the material plate (wood/plastic) to be cut, I will be moving the plate below a stationary laser head, like a jigsaw table:

My question is, how practical is this idea:
Are dvd lasers strong enough to cut about 3mm thick wood plate, with the proper lenses? From what I see on youtube these diodes are only able to light matches and cut tapes, but in these videos they are shooting the laser from a distance, In my application, though, I will be able to focus the laser to a fixed point and shoot it from a close distance. From my understanding the more focused I want the laser to be, the more expensive the lenses get. Do you think I can achieve the burning ability specified above with, say, 20$ lens?
I will have no problem with driving the diodes, I have the required components already, and I am aware to the safety issues with this kind of lasers, that's why I am asking about this here, before I spend money on goggles and then realize these diodes are not worth it.

Hope I was clear,
Itay.
 

paul1598419

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In a word, NO. There isn't enough power there to focus it down to get the necessary power density to cut through 3 mm of hard wood. In fact, if you want to cut wood there are already plenty of goods ways to do it. I believe they are called saws. Now, you could do some burning/engraving on wood with one, but why reinvent the wheel?
 

128ITSH

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What if I combine 2/3/4 of these DVD diodes? or just by a 1~2W diode like this one?
There are two reasons I want to do this instead of buying a jigsaw:
- It's cool. and I want to learn about lasers/optics by building it.
- Saws can leave you with lots of sawdust to clean, and I don't have a "shop", I currently work in the room where I sleep or in the balcony, so I don't want to get my home full of that dust.
 

ArcticDude

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What if I combine 2/3/4 of these DVD diodes? or just by a 1~2W diode like this one?
There are two reasons I want to do this instead of buying a jigsaw:
- It's cool. and I want to learn about lasers/optics by building it.
- Saws can leave you with lots of sawdust to clean, and I don't have a "shop", I currently work in the room where I sleep or in the balcony, so I don't want to get my home full of that dust.
You need probably 40W for hard wood


Received a request to test 5 mm hardwood samples and see if they could be cut with the K40 laser engraver. After scrounging around the shop managed to find the following for testing:

3 mm Hickory
3 mm Poplar
5 mm Poplar
3 mm Oak
5 mm Oak
3 mm Mohagany
5 mm Mohagany
3 mm Bass Wood
6 mm Bass Wood
8 mm Purple Heart
 

128ITSH

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I see this is not very possible. What do you think a 2W focused blue laser can cut, though? What about thin plastics or cardboard?
 

steve001

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What if I combine 2/3/4 of these DVD diodes? or just by a 1~2W diode like this one?
There are two reasons I want to do this instead of buying a jigsaw:
- It's cool. and I want to learn about lasers/optics by building it.
- Saws can leave you with lots of sawdust to clean, and I don't have a "shop", I currently work in the room where I sleep or in the balcony, so I don't want to get my home full of that dust.
Saws are much faster. Wood burns when heated by a laser. Then there's the burnt wood to clean up plus the smoke which has to be removed and is not good for your continued health and family members if breathed in. The answer remains NO!

P.S. Cutting through any material in a closed space such as your home requires or should require a way to remove the gases or smoke.
 
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paul1598419

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As was stated in an earlier post, you would likely need 40 watts to do what you want to do and it would leave burned edges that you would have to contend with. A 2 watt laser would be fine for engraving wood if you got the multi-mode diode's spot small enough to make thin lines. Otherwise, just stick with a saw. It will do a much better job. The answer to "what is the best way to cut a material" is not always a laser. People get the wow factor involved in laser cutting, but it takes a great deal to do it properly and is usually reserved for metals, not wood.
 
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CurtisOliver

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CO2 lasers are the only viable 'cheap' solution. But this project would be pointless and dangerous. In the workshop we have laser cutters and saws for different purposes. Keep saws for what they are intended for. ;)
 




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