YPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”> 1967 had the Summer of Love, Thurgood Marshall’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and—if you’re a hockey fan—it was the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. There was also no shortage of engineering news in 1967, including the Apollo 1 disaster, the Saturn V rocket’s first launch and the Concorde’s debut. Here’s another event from 1967 that was arguably just as important but didn’t get nearly as much press: Peter Houldcroft, then Deputy Scientific Director at The Welding Institute in Cambridge, UK began his experiments using an oxygen assist gas to cut a 1mm-thick steel sheet with a 300W CO2 laser. This marked the beginning of using lasers for industrial material processing. Now, 50 years later, laser cutting machines account for the largest segment of the metal cutting machine market, which also includes plasma, waterjet and mechanical cutting. In the simplest terms, a CNC laser cutter uses a coherent beam of light to cut material, most often sheet metal, but also wood, diamond, glass, plastics and silicon. Broadly sp...