A Brief History of Laser Cutting, From Our Apex Laser Cutter Distributor

Laser cutting is now an extremely common process used in manufacturing, medical facilities, and even artist studios. However, laser cutting is still a relatively new technology. Below is a brief history of laser cutters and where the industry stands today. If you are searching for 2D or 3D laser cutters in Apex NC, call Active Machinery Sales today.

The First Laser

The first real working laser was created in 1960 by Theodore Maiman, working out of the Hughes Research Laboratory in California. Maiman created the laser by shining a high-power flash lamp on a ruby rod with silver-coated surfaces. After his discovery, he promptly submitted a short report of the work to the journal Physical Review Letters, but the editors turned it down, possibly reflecting the limited understanding at the time of the nature of lasers and their significance.

Maiman then turned to another journal, Nature, where the paper was better received and published. The Hughes Research Laboratory then announced the discovery to the media. This created quite a stir, with front-page newspaper discussions of possible death rays, as well some skepticism among scientists.

‘A Solution Looking for a Problem’

Although the laser had been invented, its capabilities were not immediately obvious, and initially, it was described as “a solution looking for a problem.” However, the laser beam’s ability to deliver an intense, narrow beam of light comprised of just a single wavelength meant it had potential uses for dozens of industries, and the science and manufacturing communities began to identify those uses. The gas laser cutting process was one of the first applications to be developed, by Kumar Patel, an electrical engineer at Bell Labs, New Jersey. In the same year, 1964, the crystal laser process for cutting was developed, by another Bell Labs engineer named J. E. Geusic. By 1965, laser cutting and laser drilling was being used in diamond minds.

Laser Cutting from the ’70s to Now

By 1970, Western Electric was producing laser cutting machines at a rapid rate, and the process was beginning to make its way into the aerospace industry. By the 1980s, roughly 20,000 commercial laser cutting machines had been installed in various industries worldwide, totaling a value of about $7.5 billion.

Nowadays, laser cutting has become one of the most useful and reliable cutting processes in the world, used to make electronics, cars, bikes, toys, and even art. It is likely that we will see laser-based technology continue to develop over the coming years, and it is interesting to think where this advantageous process may be able to take us in the future.

Need Laser Cutting Equipment in Apex, NC?

Active Machinery stocks a wide variety of new and used laser cutting machines. No matter your job—whether it’s fabrication, automatic loading or unloading, cutting, or folding—we have exactly what you need to get it done. We’re proud carriers of all the top brands you trust, like Sunrise, Flow, Mitsubishi, and Ermac. To learn more about our 2D and 3D laser cutters for sale, contact us here.