The high demand for beam shaping technology by the display industry has lead to higher resolutions, smaller pixel pitch and reduced costs. Nowadays high quality, nematic Liquid Crystal on Silicon microdisplays (LCoS) with resolutions of 1920 × 1080 pixels and 8 μm pixel pitch are available. The optical properties of these microdisplays allow for their application as an adaptive optical element where instantaneous change between arbitrary beam profiles is necessary. Laser material processing which often requires high beam qualities with various beam profiles is one industry where this technology could be applied. In this paper, a compact beam shaping setup and simple characterization methods for practical use of the LCoS at micromachining stations are presented.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.