A laser milling process employing a pulsed, carbon dioxide laser has been investigated using graphite as a model material. Material is removed by scanning the focused beam across the surface of the workpiece leaving behind a series of narrow, parallel, overlapping grooves. These grooves, together, constitute the removal of a thin layer of uniform thickness lying parallel to a layer plane. In order to remove layers bounded at the edge by upright walls perpendicular to the layer plane, the laser beam must be tilted with respect to the layer plane. Using this approach, it is possible to produce perpendicular steps and cylindrical surfaces.

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