A facility for rapid prototyping of MEMS devices is crucial for the development of novel miniaturized components in all sectors of high-tech industry, e.g. telecommunications, information technology, micro-optics and aerospace. To overcome the disadvantages of existing techniques in terms of cost and flexibility, a new approach has been taken to provide a tool for rapid prototyping and small-scale production: Complex CAD/CAM software has been developed that automatically generates the tool paths according to a CAD drawing of the MEMS device. As laser ablation is a much more complicated process than mechanical machining, for which such software has already been in use for many years, the generation of these tool paths relies not only on geometric considerations, but also on a sophisticated simulation module taking into account various material and laser parameters and micro-effects. The following laser machining options have been implemented: cutting, hole drilling, slot cutting, 2D area clearing, pocketing and 2½D surface machining. Once the tool paths are available, a post processor translates this information into CNC commands that control a scanner head. This scanner head then guides the beam of a UV solid-state laser to machine the desired structure by direct laser ablation.