The application of lasers in manufacturing has gained considerable attention recently. The aim of this study is to develop an innovative laser-assisted drilling process through an innovative tool design. Predictive thermal optimization tools will also be developed which will greatly extend the tool life and the keep the machine down time to a minimum. An experimental investigation of a laser assisted drilling process was conducted in this study. Carbon steel (0.1% Carbon content) was used as the ablating material and a CW CO2 laser was employed with the beam formed into a ring shape. Finite Element Method was also used for numerical simulation of the process. Comparison between experimental and numerical results indicates good qualitative agreement between theory and experiment within the limits of the (rather large) uncertainty with which material properties are known to date.

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