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How a CO2 Laser Cutter Differs from the Lasers with Which Many Are More Familiar

Many people are familiar with compact, hand-held laser pointers, but these represent only a tiny portion of what the technology can do. In low-powered formats as embodied by such pointers, lasers deliver an intensely focused beam that can be aimed over large distances with great precision. That makes them especially apt at illustrating a visual point, but the power of the underlying principle can be expanded upon greatly.

While lasers that carry a great deal of energy are not commonly seen in everyday life, they have many important applications in other environments. In fact, more powerful lasers are fairly strictly controlled in many places because it can take relatively little extra energy to do great harm to a person. Even a slight lapse in judgment or failure to use appropriate protection can lead to blinding or worse, so lasers that carry more than a modicum of energy tend to be restricted to settings where their considerable power will be respected.

In these environments, though, they can also accomplish things that no other technology is likely to match. A powerful enough laser can cut through anything from soft materials like paper, fabric, or leather to much harder ones like steel and aluminum. With a great deal of energy focused in a way that only a beam of light can maintain, a co2 laser cutter therefore often turns out to be an especially capable tool.

In practice, lasers of this kind are typically coupled with other forms of technology to multiply the power and effectiveness of each. While it will often be possible to guide a laser cutting machine by hand, most are instead controlled by computerized systems. The CNC approach to machining that has proved to be so useful for lathes and tools of other kinds often turns out to be even more helpful when it is applied to lasers.

While the average person will not be likely to come across such equipment by accident, then, the output that is produced by such tools is increasingly common to see. Just as lasers have some interesting things to offer on a basic, everyday level, so can they be turned to some very impressive uses when their power is respected and harnessed.