This paper addresses an experimental investigation on the feasibility of using abrasive-waterjets (AWJs) for the precision drilling of small-diameter holes in advanced aircraft engine components. These components are sprayed with ceramic thermal barrier coating (TBC), and the required holes are typically 0.025 in. in diameter with a drilling angle of 25 deg. The parameters of the AWJ were varied to study their effects on both quantitative and qualitative hole drilling parameters. The unique techniques of assisting the abrasive feed process, ramping the waterjet pressure during drilling, and varying the jet dwell time after piercing were effectively implemented to control hole quality and size. The results of the experiments indicate the accuracy and repeatability of the AWJ technique in meeting the air flow and hole size requirements. Production parts were drilled for prototype engine testing.

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