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Laser Cutter Questions Answered

A place to post questions for the substantial number of people here who seem to have experience with laser cutting machines.

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westfw

11 years ago

So, can you use a laser cutter (of the medium power sort people here have been using) to make printed circuit boards? I gather that copper is too good a heatsink, and too transparent to IR, to be removed by the laser directly; how about coating the board with relatively cheap paint and using the laser to "engrave" away the paint? And how about drilling at least pilot holes?

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ewilhelmwestfw

Reply 11 years ago

People tried to do this for years at the Media Lab without success. In the end, they ended up using a vinyl cutter to cut copper tape and a Modela mini milling machine to cut out circuit traces from blank sheets of the stuff. I have personally cut thin sheets of stainless steel with a 100 W IR laser cutter, but it was a dangerous and not very effective method.

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zachninmeewilhelm

Reply 11 years ago

So it can't cut through the fiberglass? Even if when you etched, you dissolved the copper there and went over the hole a few times?

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ewilhelmzachninme

Reply 11 years ago

I just ended up burning the fiberglass.

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zachninmewestfw

Reply 11 years ago

I was wondering that too. That would defiantly be a reason for one. Or instead of paint, cover the whole thing with Sharpie.