Abstract A theoretical and experimental investigation of the limitations of the pulsed laser drilling process is presented in this study. A theoretical model has been developed for simulating the process of drilling with medium irradiance laser beams. It takes into account the required time for reaching melting temperature as well as the melting and the subsequent removal of a volume of material during each laser pulse. The model estimates for a specific laser beam power, a maximum drill depth. The pulsing frequency of the laser beam has no effect on the maximum drill depth. A 1.8 kW CO 2 laser has been used for the experimental verification of the theoretical predictions and the fine tuning of the model.