How Laser Drilling Works

How Laser Drilling Works

Drilling is a process used to cut through a material with a rotating cutting machine called a drill bit. The tool helps you cut the material to form a circular hole. After you place a drill bit on the workpiece and activate, it rotates and scoops the material out of the workpiece.

There are different drilling processes. Among all, the best is the laser drilling method, as it’s effective and efficient.

Here are types of laser drilling methods:

1.    Percussion Laser Drilling

Percussion laser drilling involves one laser to make a hole. The method can produce multiple holes but through a single beam. However, it creates deep and precise holes.

2.    Trepan laser drilling

This process will use multiple layers of the beam. The percussion method helps create the holes. After that, this laser method enlarges them. Trepan laser drilling moves in a circular motion as it expands the hole.

3.    Helical Laser Drilling

This method of drilling is like the Trepan method. However, it has a difference. With helical laser drilling, you need to have an initial pilot hole. It operates in a circular motion. The excess materials start to shoot upward and not downward motion.

How does Laser Drilling Work?

Laser drilling processes use laser light to drill holes into a workpiece. The process is different from others that use physical drill cuts. The laser drill method leverages thermal energy laser light and uses it to drill holes


While working, exposing the workpiece to the laser light, it melts. The melted material vaporizes to the surrounding. So, this process, unlike others, doesn’t produce swarf. The process doesn’t require a continuous beam to cut the workpieces. Most laser drilling tools use pulses of laser light. In each pulse, it will burn and vaporize the material it’s drilling. The process is repeated until the desired results are achieved. And regardless of the material, this process gives precise holes.

However, this process requires high energy depth. While drilling, you need to focus because of the intense beam. The beam causes melting and evaporation of material.

The steam pressure triggers particles coming from the hole you’re drilling. To get the right results and depths, consider using a pulsed laser. However, many factors determine your success, and they include hole diameter, material, and processing speed.

Before you start the drilling process, there are three options, as highlighted above, to consider. However, the process is not smooth. It has various challenges you will come across while drilling holes. One of the challenges is drilling holes of less than 0.25mm. To solve the problem, laser drilling is what you need. The laser allows you to drill such holes comfortably and on different materials; ceramic, gemstones, and steel.

If you’re drilling hard materials, the best method is trepanning. In this method, you first overlap and then initiate your drilling action – circular movements. The process is automated and will require proper protection with a mask.

On the other hand, the laser drilling process is perfect under automation. Before drilling, essential parameters must be present such as laser beam quality, wavelength, pulse duration, pulse repetition rate, and intensity.

Simulation and modeling are essential. When you consider them, your laser drilling method will be more precise. Additionally, you have an advantage with laser drilling, as it’s less costly. If you are doing micro-drilling, laser drilling is an excellent alternative to EDM, CNC, and punching methods. Such methods are destructive in drilling holes.

Laser drilling is accurate to drill specific materials such as glass, rubber, and copper. The laser power and motion control allow you to achieve specific drill holes. It’s a dynamic method. You can use it and alter edge quality, hole depth, and hole diameter. The downside is that the hole will not be straight and have redeposition due to violent phase changes.

However, with short pulse duration and wavelengths, they can reduce both tapering and redeposition. Laser beam nature assists in drilling hard materials and synthetic materials. And because it’s a programmed process, you can have high-speed drilling.

Christophe Rude
Christophe Rude
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