[hackerspaces] Laser cutter vs CNC router

Nate Bezanson myself at telcodata.us
Tue Feb 8 05:27:28 CET 2011

> While we're talking about laser cutters--
> what can you do with a laser that you can't do with a CNC router?

Inside corners. It's like having a 1/64"-dia cutter that never goes dull.
Look at the notches on Makerbot parts for an example.

You can also cut stuff like fabric and paper that just wouldn't be
possible with a mechanical mill. Intricate papercraft just got a lot less
tedious, as long as you don't mind mild charring around the edges. :)

> Obviously, the laser is better for thin materials, and the router is
> better for thick materials. But there's a lot of overlap there.

And the mill cuts metal, which most CO2 lasers are loathe to do.

Controlling depth on the router is a more deterministic thing; you're not
gonna do PCB milling with a laser, for instance.

The big thing though, is the L-word. Classes draw more of the general
public when you say "laser" than when you say "CNC router", and for many
spaces, that's a boon by itself.


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