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A recent and versatile addition to Jim’s arsenal of tools is a laser engraver/cutter made by Universal Laser Systems. This machine uses a CO/2 laser beam under computer control to work wood, plastic, or other materials. It can engrave an intricate pattern on the material surface, or cut right through it along a precisely specified curve. These photos show the machine in Jim’s shop, and just a few examples of the many uses to which Jim has put this unusual tool.
One of the most appealing things about the laser (unlike the CNC ) is that it is capable of cutting small parts without the need for clamping or holding them while cutting. Because the laser beam has no mass it offers no resistance, therefore delicate parts do not move when being cut. One of the more frustrating things about the laser is that it will not cut pearl or ebony.