This tangential laser finishing process introduces the use of ultrashort pulsed laser ablation to generate characteristic features on fluted drilling tools. By using two optical and five mechanical axes and appropriate tangential strategies, its ability to process complex 3D tool geometries at high precision in ultrahard materials is demonstrated. The method is applied to produce a solid PCD drilling tool with a number of characteristic features. Achieved cutting edge radii and surface roughness are in the range of or below those of a commercial CVD-D coated tool. Comparative tests by drilling in Zirconium dioxide demonstrates superior durability of the tangentially laser-processed PCD tool compared to the CVD-D coated tool.
While the presented work identifies the possibility of processing hard ceramic materials by PCD tools with defined cutting edges, a variety of aspects remain to be investigated. Future work may examine the performance of different drilling tool geometries and processing parameters for a range of workpiece materials. Furthermore, the process may be transferred to microdrills, milling tool geometries and other tool materials, such as PCBN and monocrystalline diamond.