Laser beams were properly created in 1960 when the physicist Theodore Maiman used a synthetic ruby crystal to make the first working prototype capable of producing a straight laser beam. But it was not until 1963 when the electrical engineer Kumar Patel invented the gas laser cutting technology using CO2, making the laser cutting process cheaper and more efficient.
Patel’s efforts allowed the mining industry to give lasers a practical application in 1965: Cutting and drilling in diamond mines. Later on, in 1967, thanks to Peter Houldcroft, who developed the first gas-assisted laser cutting nozzle, it was possible to cut a 1-mm-thick steel sheet.
Today, CO2 laser cutters are a common tool used to cut and engrave materials like cardboard, plywood, MDF or acrylic, to name a few. Let’s take a closer look at the technology!