Created By: IndirectActiveTransport on August 6, 2012 Last Edited By: IndirectActiveTransport on October 27, 2012
Troped

Laser Cutter

Using light or another kind of energy beam to cut something.

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Is this trope worthy? Is this distinct enough for its own page?

In difficult surgeries, operators often turn to lasers for their cutting rather than a "knife" or scalpel. In this case, the laser is usually vaporizing watery tissue or disrupting molecular bonds more than "cutting" but the appearance is the same. Lasers are also used to reshape surfaces, close wounds, irradiate cells or simply point out areas without intending to affect them but the cutting aspect has really caught on in fiction where lasers go beyond scalpels and take the place of pickaxes, drills, saws, or razor wire.

Laser and plasma cutters have become common in industry and are beginning to come down in price enough for schools and hobbyists. They have a long way to go from the easy portability or versatility seen in fiction however. Laser Blade took on a life of its own, becoming a subtrope.

Examples

Comics
  • In an issue of Superman (or perhaps Action Comics) Superman is called upon to use his heat vision as a laser beam to perform surgery on Supergirl - since she's Kryptonian, no Earth scalpel can cut her.
    • Superman is also regularly seen using his heat vision in a mirror in order to shave. (Also used in Lois and Clark.) At least once when he gets depowered he's shown with several razor cuts on his face because he isn't used to shaving the old-fashioned way. (Again also used in Lois and Clark.)

Film
  • James Bond traditionally has a laser cutter in his watch, primarily used for locks. Goldfinger famously sets him up to be cut in half by one.
  • The Star Trek series uses lasers it calls drills.
  • The Resident Evil movie shows the use of a slow sweeping cutting laser, on people.
  • In Dune, one of the Fremen watching Paul Atreides' demonstration of the weirding way tries to cut a stone obelisk with a laser cutter.
  • TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy has one of these with Trillian having a laser knife that toasts bread as it slices.
  • The Ironman armour has two from the second film onwards. They prove pretty impractical, as the suits cannot produce enough power to run even one of them very long.
  • The seekers (hunter-killers?) in The Matrix films use lasers to cut through hovercraft hulls.

Literature
  • In Frank Herbert's Dune universe, the cutterray is a short-range version of a lasgun used mostly as a cutting tool and surgeon's scalpel.

Live Action TV
  • "Laser probes" in Blake's 7, though their function is always sort of nebulous, probably work like this, based on various peoples' reactions to the threat of being tortured with one ;)
  • In an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Bashir uses some kind of laser medical cutting tool as a weapon against the Monster of the Week ( actually, Odo, under the influence of the newly discovered chemical element of the week).
  • In Bones episode "Male In The Mail" Hodgens uses a laser to cut through a box containing the victim's Bones.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Epideme", a laser cutter is used to amputate Lister's arm.
  • Sarah Jane Smith in both Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures (and pretty much every other related franchise) uses a Sonic Lipstick, which (unlike the Doctor's sonic screwdriver) can cut via laser, and K-9 (MIII onwards, anyway) can do this with his eyestalk, too.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons module S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. The laser pistol and laser rifle can be used to cut through any kind of metal, including the ship's hull metal.

Toys
  • One Lego space set featured laser saws. One mounted on a vehicle and another hand held(Instructed to be used that way, you can change them up)

Video Games
  • Also, in the early 90s Amiga game Turrican, the intro showes a laser or heat ray cutting a rectangle from the black background. The piece falls out, and the developer's logo (Rainbow Arts) becomes visible. This is a reference to a special ability the in-game character has. See it here.

Western Animation
  • The Tick once had to contend with a laser that was in the process of cutting the Earth in two.
  • A criminal once tried to use a surgical laser on Batman in his animated series. It proved not to be a very effective weapon and he was punched out.
  • Titan AE shows the use of lasers in place of saws.
  • Green Lantern from the Super Friends has an expensive looking nuclear laser he can pull out of Hammer Space with his ring. He uses it to cut a pair of chains.
  • In(again) Superman The Animated Series, Clark uses his heat vision to shave himself (by reflecting laser beams off the bathroom mirror).
  • * In Adventure Time, Princess Bubblegum uses these to... slice bread.
  • Much mayhem is caused by a surgical laser in the Roger Rabbit Short "Tummy Trouble", especially after it malfunctions and turns into a rocket.
  • Laser cutters are common in Futurama. In one episode Leela raises what looks like an ordinary axe, and then uses the laser on the handle to cut down a tree.
  • A laser lipstick is one of the key gadgets used by Kim Possible, even being key to her escape in the Season 3 movie length finally So the Drama
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • August 6, 2012
    BOFH
    Film
    • In Dune, one of the Fremen watching Paul Atreides' demonstration of the weirding way tries to cut a stone obelisk with a laser cutter.
  • August 6, 2012
    Whitewings
    Real Life

    • Laser cutters and surgical lasers (which are not always used to cut) are fairly common in the developed world.
  • August 6, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Live Action Television

    • "Laser probes" in Blake's 7, though their function is always sort of nebulous, probably work like this, based on various peoples' reactions to the threat of being tortured with one ;)
  • August 6, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • In an issue of Superman (or perhaps Action Comics) Superman is called upon to use his heat vision as a laser beam to perform surgery on Supergirl - since she's Kryptonian, no Earth scalpel can cut her.
    • Superman is also regularly seen using his heat vision in a mirror in order to shave. (Also used in Lois And Clark.) At least once when he gets depowered he's shown with several razor cuts on his face because he isn't used to shaving the old-fashioned way. (Again also used in Lois And Clark.)
  • August 7, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Also, in the adaptations:

    And, the razor cuts on his face can be, for instance, seen in Fifty Two.
  • August 7, 2012
    Arivne
    Film

    Literature
    • In Frank Herbert's Dune universe, the cutterray is a short-range version of a lasgun used mostly as a cutting tool and surgeon's scalpel.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons module S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. The laser pistol and laser rifle can be used to cut through any kind of metal, including the ship's hull metal.
  • August 16, 2012
    IndirectActiveTransport
    Well, thanks for the examples but you guys really don't have to hyperlink the category headings. If this ever gets launched they will already be on the side of the page.
  • August 21, 2012
    fulltimeD
    In an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Bashir uses some kind of laser medical cutting tool as a weapon against the Monster Of The Week ( actually, Odo, under the influence of the newly discovered chemical element of the week).
  • August 21, 2012
    Earnest

    This one's from Goldeneye.

    "This watch is on the cutting laser's edge of timekeeping."
  • August 22, 2012
    nitrokitty
  • August 22, 2012
    TBeholder
    if this ever gets 3 hats, i'll make ykttw "Chopping Wood With An Axe Of Steel Or Some Other Metal" and insist it's a trope. =)))
  • August 22, 2012
    TonyG
    • Much mayhem is caused by a surgical laser in the Roger Rabbit Short "Tummy Trouble", especially after it malfunctions and turns into a rocket.
    • Laser cutters are common in Futurama. In one episode Leela raises what looks like an ordinary axe, and then uses the laser on the handle to cut down a tree.
  • August 23, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • The Phantom Menace. Near the beginning Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan use their lightsabers to cut through a door.
  • August 24, 2012
    randomsurfer
    I've added a hat just so T Beholder will do that.
  • August 24, 2012
    reub2000
    • In Bones episode "Male In The Mail" Hodgens uses a laser to cut through a box containing the victim's Bones.
  • August 28, 2012
    IndirectActiveTransport
    TBeholder, I take it you don't find it trope worthy? If that's the case, feel free to further argue your point, remove a hat or whatever else you want to do.
  • August 29, 2012
    TBeholder
    It is not ye olde winkytinkypedia, and "using a saw to cut logs", "sitting on the chairs by placing yer butt upon them" and "keeping beverages cold by placing them into a box with a heat pump on its back" aren't tropes. :]
  • September 2, 2012
    Amdillae
    • A laser lipstick is one of the key gadgets used by Kim Possible, even being key to her escape in the Season 3 movie length finally So the Drama
    • TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy has one of these with Trillian having a laser knife that toasts bread as it slices.
  • September 2, 2012
    Bisected8
    • Truth In Television: Although portable devices don't exist (because of the large power supply needed), laser and plasma cutters are very common in industry. Laser cutters in particular (which operate a lot like printers, except they cut into metal, plastic or wood sheets) are beginning to come come down in price and seeing more use in schools and with hobbyists. Plasma cutters essentially create artificial lightning by blasting jets of ionised air and superheating it with an electric charge.

    I'd argue that this isn't PSOC, since it's a very clear way to show something's high tech or futuristic (particularly since portable laser cutters don't exist). Perhaps called it Lasers Are Futuristic or something?
  • September 26, 2012
    justbugsme
    • In the Red Dwarf episode "Epideme", a laser cutter is used to amputate Lister's arm.
  • September 28, 2012
    norsicnumber2nd
    ^^^ Sarah Jane Smith in both Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures (and pretty much every other related franchise) uses a Sonic Lipstick, which (unlike the Doctor's sonic screwdriver) can cut via laser, and K-9 (MIII onwards, anyway) can do this with his eyestalk, too.
  • October 27, 2012
    Chernoskill
    The seekers (hunter-killers?) in The Matrix films use lasers to cut through hovercraft hulls.

    Also, in the early 90s Amiga game Turrican, the intro showes a laser or heat ray cutting a rectangle from the black background. The piece falls out, and the developer's logo (Rainbow Arts) becomes visible. This is a reference to a special ability the in-game character has. See it here.
  • October 27, 2012
    GrigorII
    Remove the "Is this trope worthy? Is this distinct enough for its own page?" You shouldn't talk with others there, just write the trope as it should appear.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qoqktup2lqadxgyp1ykaeqf3&trope=LaserCutter