Conductive heat transfer in contour laser beam cutting is analyzed by using a transient, two-dimensional finite difference model, and the result is combined with a simple analytic model. From the calculation results, the correlation is derived between workpiece temperature and opening angles at a corner in contour cutting. As a result, a modified analytic solution is developed to predict if excessive workpiece heating occurs for given cutting contours in a nested plate. The main objective is to use the computation results in the optimization of torch path planning to provide fully automated CNC programming software for laser cutting. To efficiently apply the analytic model in torch path planning, the critical temperature that should be avoided during the cutting sequence is considered. This leads to an improvement of the cutting quality in the automatic cutting process.