A computer controlled apparatus is disclosed for performing a series of laser machining operations on a work piece in an environment comprised of a non-reactive gas with respect to the material of which the work piece is made. The computer controlled apparatus includes a machining chamber for receiving the work piece and means in the form of a pump for directing the non-reactive gas into the machining chamber at a controlled, selected rate. A laser beam is generated by a laser and is focused into a beam along a path to the work piece. An assembly is provided for selectively moving the machining chamber and its work piece therein through a sequence of steps, whereby the relative position between the work piece and the laser beam is changed such that a series of lasing operations and, in particular, welds may be effected on a sequence of selected sites of the work piece. A computer is programmed to control the rate at which the non-reactive gas is introduced into the machining chamber, as well as to the machining sites of the work piece, whereby the selectively moving assembly may be controlled to dispose the work piece to effect the series of welding operations.