In my search for a suitable method to trim used wine corks into uniformly thick discs with finished surfaces, I contacted a firm with laser cutting equipment. They took a batch of natural corks and synthetic stoppers to experiment with.
I had hoped the laser cutting would provide a clean surface that needed no additional finishing, but results suggest this method is not a suitable option.
The depth of the cut did not even reach the centre axis of the cork before burning occurred.
We had similar results when testing the laser cutting on synthetic stoppers. While the synthetics did not burn, the cut did melt — causing the discs to fuse back together as the laser penetrated.
This suggests a return to our original thoughts of some type of shearing process.
The precision shear used by printers to trim lifts of printed paper give an excellent finished cut.
If you know of equipment or a process that would be suitable, we’d love to hear from you.