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Laser macro-materials processing is currently undergoing intense development. Lasers have already offered new processing capabilities, and have gained an important rank as industrials machine tools. This paper outlines the basic methods employed in laser macro-machining, discusses the controlling beam-interaction parameters, and relates progress gained in formulating a better understanding of the underlying physical principles of high-power laser processing of materials. A number of cases in which lasers have offered substantial advantages over competing technologies are illustrated. The evolution of macro-machining of materials continues to lead to new laser-processing capabilities, and even now may have rendered some of the earliest cited laser performance data obsolete.