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Re: cutting paper

My father uses a laser cutting service to cut plywood parts for RC model
airplane kits. I've pasted his commentary on finding a laser cutting
service and some of the questions he would have about using lasers to cut
paper below.  He wanted me to be sure to include the disclaimer that he
has no bookbinding experience.

Pat, I'd be interested to hear more about your experience with laser

Christine Howard
Seattle, WA


Interesting using a laser to trim the paper.  Why not go to a print shop
that has a big power cutter instead?  I'd think that would be cheaper and do
a nicer job as well.  Most laser cutters wouldn't have any way set up to
clamp the paper.  And the print shop personnel would be more experienced
setting up the cut job.  Or am I missing something here?

Laser cutting machinery comes in all sizes and capacities.  The cutting
services I use have very low power lasers that can only cut very thin
media - like 1/8" plywood.   Larger laser cutters can cut very thick
materials, but the machinery is very expensive (like $100,000+ in one case I
know of).  To avoid burning on combustible media these biggies 'blow' on the
cut with an inert gas.  What all of this means is that a very small job
would be prohibitively expensive.  (Another caveat is that a mistake laser
cutting a book could easily ruin or damage it beyond repair.)

I think a major problem setting up to laser cut would be the clamping and
alignment.  Many lasers have a vacuum table to hold the media.  None I've
seen (and that's not many) have any provisions for clamping which would be
needed for a stack of paper.  And the media has to be aligned at a
definite starting point since the cutting is computer controlled.

Best way would be to look laser cutters up in the phone book and simply ask
them what they can do.

No problem using my thoughts.  Just don't tell me if I'm wrong!


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