Cutting wood with a beam of light (Mar, 1963)

Cutting wood with a beam of light

A new technique in woodworking may be on the way. The University of Michigan has developed a tool that cuts through maple and other hardwoods with bursts of light that act like the science-fiction writers’ disintegrating-ray gun. The experimental drill operates with a laser (light amplification by stimulated electron radiation) head that contains a coiled xenon flash tube and a ruby rod. It builds up intensely hot light pulses, focuses them through a lens to vaporize a hole in a block of wood instantly without leaving char. It’s not ready yet for the home workshop.

  1. fluffy says: February 18, 200811:00 am

    Oh man, back when people actually remembered that “laser” is an acronym, and it was new enough that it was always expanded out.

  2. DyeHard says: February 18, 20081:39 pm

    I like the fact that they got the definition of L.A.S.E.R. wrong.
    The acronym stands for: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. That is Emission not Electron.

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