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.