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What can be cut with a 10W IR laser? Answered

I can get a 10W IR laser diode for real cheap and I want to know what I could cut with it. If anyone has any experience, please share your knowledge. I am especially interested in how tick wood can I cut and if there are any metals (and what thickness)  can be cut.
Thanks in advance!


You main problem is to focus the beam, a diode usually produces a quite dirty spot.
So even if your diode was dirt cheap you are looking at around 100$ (for starters) to get some mirrors, lenses and mounts, quality stuff here starts at about 250$ per set.
And as Kiteman pointed out power is the key to speed and thicker materials.
40W are good enough for most home uses, 60W if you also want to cut through thicker materials with reasonable speed and 100W or more is usually the starting point for metal engraving and really good usablility.
Sadly the more power you need the quicker you drop into the professional area.
A dirt cheap 40W laser is around 500-600bucks, same power from aproper dealer and you look at about 1500$.
Keep in mind the price is mostly for the laser itself, plus the optics.

Some metals can be cut with less power using the punhole method.
Means you first shot a complete hole through the material and from there start the cutting.
Still without gas assist even a 60W laser struggles to cut through 0.5mm aluminium foil....
Comes down to the wavelenght ;)
If you want to cut metal with great results buld yourself a Ruby Laser.
They only make pulses but a single pulse from a little, home Ruby Laser shoots right through a knife blade or spoon.


2 years ago

I like this message.

Click on the pick to see the whole image...


BTW can you PM me the link so I can get a cheap one too.

For your tick burning idea, you might want to try it with some lower power laser (up to 0.5W) and preferably visible light (readily available on ebay and amazon for about 40-50 USD). Beam should be focused at set distance and it should get out of focus very fast so you don't burn anything but what you want burnt.

If you ever actually do it, please buy a pair of laser protection goggles and don't try that on yourself before you are certain you know how it works. I'd suggest you find some random forest animal for testing (I am against animal cruelty though).

I have a collection of red, green, IR and UV 5mw lasers for stimulating fluorescence in minerals. Regrettably none have any affect on a fly.

Ergo the interest in a bit more coherent power.

I am not buying it from general retailer... I have managed to convince some company to sell me a sample for cheap.


2 years ago

I would really enjoy using a 10W narrow beam laser to burst cut those wood ticks that give you that hideous blood infection....

Wouldn't that be a bit of an overkill?

Detecting them is going to be the problem.

As with most desire for bulk eradication of wild life: attraction, entrapment and then eradication en mass is the answer.

Just stake myself to the grass land ground some evening and as the ticks draw blood their temperature changes.

Easily seen with night vision Google :)

BTW, I'm curious who granted you that title of "engineer". It's rather shocking and more than a bit frightening to see such a question from an engineer

I appreciate your concern about my safety but I can assure you I will be using it in an enclosed box without windows. I know laser safety. I have no experience with laser cutting though and I don't have access to any from which I could learn.

Regarding your comment about title "engineer": an "engineer" uses previously gathered data for his work thus asking looking up literature is always a good starting point. When literature offers little to no data on the problem he is trying to solve, asking around can't hurt. If even that brings no answer to his question, he tries to do it through trial and error but that is a bit more costly and not exactly what I want.

I asked this question because I wanted to know if 10W laser will do anything noticeably better than a 1W one. If I could only cut foam and cardboard, a much cheaper 1w laser would be much better in spite of lowered speed (1W IR lasers can be bought for less than 10USD while 10+ W ones start at 140 and even if you manage to get a free sample, shipping is more expensive than lower power ones).

I expected at least someone to comment on safety but calm down, no need to go agressive.

Very little, aside from various parts of your eyes and your skin. A 10W laser will very effectively compromise your vision permanently, just from specular reflections you can't even see.

I have a 40W CO2 laser, and it comfortably cuts 3mm materials - plywood, acrylic, MDF.

If you're cutting slowly, I'd guess you'd get away with up to 1mm materials - thick card.

Cutting metals? Forget it.

You should, though, be able to etch or engrave most things, and there are pastes you can apply to metals to allow a laser to make a mark.