Cue the evil laughter... Yes, its a functional laser bandsaw!
First things first: this is not a toy, but it is presented purely for your amusement. If you choose to do something with this material, be warned: this device is hazardous! The laser can burn/cut you and ruin your vision! I have made a first cut at a suitable guard for this, but its a DRAFT of a guard, and needs work. You must ALSO wear laser goggles!
After listening to Max and Justin on the Home Shop Machinist Podcast talking about the next 100 years of home shop machine tools and the "laser bandsaw" I, of course, had to build one!
The laser is a NUBM44 installed in a Copper housing. The heat sink is totally custom made with about 0.002" of clearance between the housing and heat sink for heat sink paste. A Super X-drive (designed by Laseerer) powers the laser. I had fun boring out the hole to match the diode housing (tiny little boring bar) and cutting fins into it with a slitting saw. A pocket under the fan allows air to reach the fins, and the ends of the fins are sealed with Aluminum foil tape so that all the air exits around the lens and provides some air assist.
The black rectangle under the laser is the beam dump: a stack of box knife blades. You need this because the laser is on continuously, and you need a place for that energy to go SAFELY! The orange shielding material is from JTech Photonics, hot formed to fit around the laser heat sink. I cheated some and masked areas of the acrylic that I didn't want to have bend by using more Aluminum foil tape. That stuff is great, if irritatingly sharp!
To set it up, feed it a small current (under half an Amp, which will require around 4-5 Volts to get the diode to turn on). Put a sheet of paper on the table and adjust for minimum spot size (you are wearing your goggles, right?!?).
In use, move your target object through the beam slowly and it will cut! Paper and business cards cut pretty well. Single layer cardboard cuts ok-ish. Double layer mostly just burns. It will take black paint/ink off of stuff really fast. Craft foam and felt both cut well, if a bit stinky. Balsa cuts really fast and nicely!
I've got a higher resolution video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/1sBeiYIkn4k