Lasers help make guitars.
A computer controls the position of the laser in the guitar-cutting machine. Inset: The laser creates delicate soundboard holes in a guitar.
Perhaps no musical instrument is as ubiquitous in American life as the guitar, and Taylor Guitars (El Cajon, Calif., U.S.A.) has brought music to many homes. In the company’s workshop, lasers have helped make the guitars since 1999. Engineering Services Manager Mike Mosley explains that machines that incorporate 200-W carbon dioxide lasers are used to cut the tops, backs and sides of the guitars.
“Utilizing a laser computer-numerically-controlled machine provides the efficiency, safety and precision needed to produce premium guitars,” Mosley says. The laser doesn’t chip the wood, as a router or shaper might. In addition, the beam applies no pressure, so there is less breakage. Finally, the beam’s diameter is approximately 0.008 of an inch, which also allows for more intricate extraction of materials, especially for detailed inlay work.
Yvonne Carts-Powell is a freelance science writer who specializes in optics and photonics.