Looking Back on Laser Cutting Techniques: A Brief History

Laser cutting techniques are an important part of the manufacturing sector. Yet, if we rewind to sixty years ago, laser technology was still being invented.

These days laser cutting is anything but primitive, with intelligent technology, almost anything can be cut to size with ultimate precision. If history isn’t really your thing, we’ve kept this one super short with just a few important facts.

Looking Back

When it comes to lasers, cutting is the most common use in processing materials.

The three main laser cutting techniques are:

  • Fusion cutting
  • Flame cutting
  • Remote cutting

Much of the progress in laser cutting is attributed to the Deputy Scientific Director at The Welding Institute, Peter Houldcroft. He discovered that combining a focused laser beam with oxygen assist gas opened the way for better cutting speed and precision. His research is considered the foundation of modern laser techniques.

In the early days, laser cutting techniques were designed for military applications. However, once laser developments started it was plain to see that they would have great value in industrial manufacturing operations.

Here’s a brief timeline:


  • Elias Snitzer demonstrated the first optical fibre lasers


  • Kumar Patel invented gas laser cutting using a carbon dioxide mix
  • E. Geusic tested crystal laser cutting at the same research centre, Bell Labs


  • At the Western Electric Engineering Research Centre, a laser cutting machine was used for the first time to drill into diamond dies.


  • The first experiments in gas-assisted laser cutting were conducted at The Welding Institute. This pioneered the way forward for our modern laser cutting techniques.


  • Oxygen jet cutting technology was being used on titanium in the aerospace sector
  • Carbon dioxide lasers were used in the manufacturing industry such as in textiles


  • The automotive, die, mould, tool, jewellery, medical, electronic, and many other industries all rely heavily on laser cutting.

Technology has come a long way since the early days, and laser cutting machines have seen significant advancements since the first lasering experiments were conducted.

Today laser cutting techniques have been refined and automated. Actually, laser cutters are accessible to almost anyone! Yes, you can cut things with lasers as a hobby.

If you’d like to know more about cutting edge options available to your business, give Steelmor a call today!