In some applications, laser cutting of wedge surfaces cannot be avoided in sheet metal processing and the quality of the end product defines the applicability of the laser-cutting process in such situations. In the present study, CO(2) laser cutting of the wedge surfaces as well as normal surfaces (normal to laser beam axis) is considered and the end product quality is assessed using the international standards for thermal cutting. The cut surfaces are examined by the optical microscopy and geometric features of the cut edges such as out of flatness and dross height are measured from the micrographs. A neural network is introduced to classify the striation patterns of the cut surfaces. It is found that the dross height and out of flatness are influenced significantly by the laser output power, particularly for wedge-cutting situation. Moreover, the cut quality improves at certain value of the laser power intensity. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.