Electron Beam Machining : Principle, Working, Equipment’s, Application, Advantages and Disadvantages

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Today we will learn about electron beam machining principle, working, equipment’s, application, advantages and disadvantages with its diagram. It is a non-traditional machining process in which no physical tool is used. Electron beam machining is same as laser beam machining process in which except laser, high speed electron beam impinges on work piece. This will generate high heat energy and melts and vaporize metal from work piece. This whole process takes place in vacuum chamber. It is mostly used to drill holes in any shape.

Electron Beam Machining:


This machining process works on basic principle of conversion of kinetic energy of electron into heat energy. When a high speed electron impinges on a work piece, they convert its kinetic energy into heat energy. This heat energy used to vaporize material at contact surface. This process is carried out in vacuum otherwise the electron will collide with air particle and loses its energy before impinging on work material. This is basic principle of EBM machining.
Electron Beam Machining : Principle, Working, Equipment's, Application, Advantages and Disadvantages


Electron Gun:

It is called heart of electron beam machining. It is used to generate electron. It is simply a cathode ray tube which generates electron, accelerate them to sufficient velocity and focus them at small spot size. In this gun cathode is made by tungsten or tantalum. This cathode filament heated upto 2500 degree centigrade which accelerate to electron emission by thermionic reaction. There is very low vacuum in the chamber

Annular Bias Grid:

It is next element of EBM. It is just after the electron gun. It is a anode which is connected by the negative bias so the electron generated by the cathode do not diverge from its path and approach to the next element. When the electrons leave this section, the velocity of electron is almost half the velocity of light.

Magnetic Lenses:

After the anode, magnetic lenses are provided which shape the beam and does not allow to diverge electron or reduce the divergence of beam. These lenses allow to pass only convergent electron, thus a high focused beam is obtained. They also capture low energy electron, thus increase the quality of beam.

Electromagnetic lens and deflection coil:

Electromagnetic lens is used to focus the electron beam at a spot. They use to focus beam at a spot on work piece so a high intense beam reaches at work surface, which produces more heat and improve machining. The defecting coil does not allow to beam deflect and take care of all electrons moves in series thus form a high intense beam.

Work piece and work holding device:

It can machine both metallic and non-metallic material. The work piece is hold by suitable fixture which is mounted on a CNC table. This table can be move in all three direction which control the shape of machining.


The EBM works same as laser beam machining. its working can be summarize into following points.
  • First electron gun produces high velocity electron particles. These electron particles move towards anode which is placed after cathode tube.
  • Now this high intense electron beam passes through magnetic lenses. There are a series of lenses which take care of only convergent electron passes through it. It absorb all divergent electron and low energy electron. It provides a high quality electron beam.
  • This electron beam now passes through electromagnetic lens and deflecting coil. It focus the electron beam at a spot.
  • The high intense electron beam impinges on the work piece where kinetic energy of electrons convert into thermal energy.
  • The material is removed from contact surface by melting and vaporization due to this high heat generated by conversion of kinetic energy into thermal energy. This whole process take place in a vacuum chamber otherwise these electron collide with air particle between path and loses its kinetic energy.

This is whole process of electron beam machining.


  • It is used to produce very small size hole about 100 micro meters to 2 millimeter.
  • It is used to produce holes in diesel injection nozzle.
  • Used in aerospace industries for producing turbine blade for supersonic engines and in nuclear reactors.

Advantages and Disadvantages:


  • It can be used for produce very small size hole in any shape.
  • It can machining any material irrespective its hardness and other mechanical properties.
  • It provides good surface finish. No any surface finishing process is require after EBM.
  • Highly reacting material can be machine easily because machining is done under vacuum. 


  • High capital cost.
  • High skill operator required.
  • Low material removal rate.
  • Regular maintenance is required
  • Material removal rate is very low compare to other conventional process.
  • It is difficult to produce perfect vacuum.
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