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Laser cutting techniques, dating back to ancient times is utilized across the globe

By: April Carson

Laser cutting has been used for centuries, witnessing its application across a variety of industries. This advanced technology takes advantage of the heat generated by laser beams to cut through materials such as metal and wood. Its widespread usage can be linked to its numerous advantages in comparison with traditional methods like sawing and drilling. "Laser cutting creates precise results by using a high-powered beam to heat and melt material, as opposed to the mechanical force used to make cuts with tools like saws and drills," said David Goldsmith, director of engineering at MecSoft.

Laser cutting is often thought of as a product of modern technology, limited to industrial applications. However, it's fascinating to discover that ancient civilizations worldwide have harnessed the power of focused light to create intricate designs and shapes, predating the invention of modern lasers. It's a testament to the ingenuity of our ancestors, and a reminder that the pursuit of innovation is a timeless endeavour.

Today, laser cutting has found its way into a myriad of industries. From the automotive industry where it is used for precise welding and shaping, to the clothing industry where intricate patterns are created on fabrics, laser cutting is expanding our boundaries and offering us new possibilities in design, fabrication and manufacturing. Here a few civilizations which can be credited with pioneering this technique:

  1. Ancient China: In ancient China, skilled artisans created a technique called "jingzuo" that utilized a concave lens of rock crystal or quartz to focus sunlight onto a particular point. This intense heat was then used to cut and shape various materials, including metal and gemstones. The precision attained through this method was remarkable, as seen in the intricate metalwork and jade carvings produced during that era.

  2. Ancient Mesoamerica: The Mayans and Aztecs, among other Mesoamerican societies, were advanced civilizations that employed sophisticated cutting techniques. They wielded obsidian blades, fashioned from naturally occurring volcanic glass, which could slice through materials with unparalleled precision. These sharp-edged blades had a wide range of uses, including carving stone and wood, as well as human sacrifices during deeply meaningful ritual ceremonies.

  3. Ancient Egypt: In as it may seem, ancient Egyptians were capable of laser-like precision cutting. Their method, known as "stone lathing", involved shaping hard stones like granite and diorite by drilling a hole into the stone and inserting a wooden dowel coated with quartz sand. By pulling the dowel back and forth while applying pressure, the quartz sand acted as an abrasive, gradually creating precise shapes and patterns. This technique is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of ancient civilizations, and their ability to create sophisticated technology with limited resources.

  4. Ancient Greece and Rome: In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans were masters of laser-like precision cutting in their architectural and artistic pursuits. Their tool of choice was the "bow drill", a flexible rod and string combo. By twisting the string around the rod and applying pressure, they produced a rotational motion that could slice through stone and metal. This innovative technique allowed them to craft intricate engravings and sculptures with unparalleled detail.

  5. Ancient India: In ancient India, artisans honed a technique known as "kirat" for precision cutting of gemstones. They used a bamboo rod and a thin iron wire coated with a mix of diamond dust and oil, creating a cutting edge that could slice through even the hardest gems. This method allowed craftsmen to fashion intricate jewelry and decorative objects with remarkable finesse.

Although ancient techniques didn't use lasers in the modern sense, they still used energy focusing principles to achieve precise cuts and shapes. It's truly remarkable how innovative these ancient civilizations were, as they found ways to manipulate and harness light for their artistic and technological advancements. In the modern era, laser cutting has been revolutionized and is now used in a variety of industries. Its widespread application reflects its numerous advantages, such as speed and accuracy, allowing us to create new possibilities in fabrication and design.

By studying ancient laser cutting techniques, we gain insight into the astonishing accomplishments of our forebears and find inspiration for contemporary applications. Laser cutting technology has since transformed everything from manufacturing to medicine and has become an indispensable part of our daily lives. It's a testament to how far we've come, and how far we can go in our pursuit of knowledge.

The ingenuity of our ancient ancestors serves as a reminder that the power of innovation is timeless. Laser cutting techniques have evolved over millennia, but their potential for advancing technology remains just as powerful today. By studying these early methods, and applying them to modern applications, we can unlock a world of possibilities.

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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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