back to article German electropulse energy drill bitchslaps lasers

Remorseless German boffins, seeking a more efficient way to make holes through hardened steel, have spurned such antique technologies as the cutting laser. They are now employing our old friend the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) as a high-tech energy drill which leaves no burrs and doesn't get blunt. The boffins in question, of …


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  1. Rudy
    Thumb Up

    New RUM??

    We have a new Register Unit of Measure - Cars per Fingernail. Top stuff, chaps!

    1. Ian 54

      2 new RUMs

      Apparently there is already a split forming in the "units of measure" community with two differing proposals - the European "cars per fingernail", based on the avearage weight of a BMW 3 series, and the American version, based on one of the 5-tonne low-tech gas-guzzlers they call "trucks".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds practical

    But I'd like to know why they couldn't figure out what shapes to cut where before they started molding the steel, so that the right shapes end up in the right places afterward.

    Can't be a real politician unless you can do a good fear-of-scare, bonus points for seeking out or inventing ever less credible ``terrist threats'' yourself. All in the name of security, er, having an excuse to deploy spendy kit yourself and in doing so push some more dosh to your friends the beltway bandits. Stand and deliver (your speech to congress) indeed.

    1. david wilson

      Prior cutting? (@AC 12:15)

      "But I'd like to know why they couldn't figure out what shapes to cut where before they started molding the steel, so that the right shapes end up in the right places afterward."

      Maybe with holes in place at the start, forming the metal in presses wouldn't work, or work as well?

      I'd suspect this technique is probably a pretty short-range one, and not much good for weaponisation?

  3. melt


    This sounds awesome. Where's the video of it in action?!

  4. Jencen

    Giant "laser"

    "Sharks with frikkin giant Electromagnetic Pulse Drils on thier heads"....

    Just doesn't have the same ring does it.

    I for one welcome our new EMP drill wielding German overlords...

    Hold on. maybe not.

  5. 0laf Silver badge

    Evil genius error

    Yes one does have to ask if this technology works underwater when attached to sharks or mutated, ill- tempered sea bass.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      IT Angle

      Don't worry about underwater

      At least you can easily stay away from the beaches, those nasty sun-beaten expanses of sand or pebbles.

      I'm just hoping it's not landsharks.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      Black Helicopters

      Sharks? Sea-bass?

      Nah! I recall that at the Millenium, the Queen was given a new car by the motor industry. According to the Telegraph at the time, this is powered by an "800bhp twin-turbot engine".

      You can keep your sharks and sea-bass. My world domination project is based on these 400bhp Turbot, the stealth uber-fish of choice for the discerning dictatorial wannabee.

  6. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Magnetics like that sounds strangely..................


  7. Doc Spock

    Not Quite on Topic...

    Would low-power EMP guns be usable as paintball-gun replacements where the person you hit actually feels like they've been hit by a grenade? (i.e. enough power to knock your target off their feet, but not enough to break their bones) What kind of range do they have?

    - these are the questions the boffins need to be answering!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Health and safety

      This would never be approved - just imagine the risk of hitting someone wearing a pacemaker.

      Would be a better option for keeping trains quiet than the mobile phone signal jammers though!

  8. umacf24
    Thumb Up

    Lewis Page

    Disintegrator gun correspondent.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My mates Fiat

    must have been have had one of these devices surreptitiously installed. Full of holes already.

    As an aside... It'll be used for making unwanted holes in tanks next - just you watch. Or for making the wanted holes in perforated armour.

  10. mark 63 Silver badge

    how big is half a hole?

    "takes 200ms to cut a hole"

    Well without knowing the thickness of the steel , and size of the hole that means nothing to me.

    (ok its 7x laser speed, but not being terribly familiar with cutting lasers, it still means nothing to me)

    1. rciafardone

      You my friend seam to be.... lacking.

      It is assumed that we are talking about equal sized holes...

  11. AlistairJ

    Shoud know better Lewis!

    That would be a DEW or directed energy weapon. Electronic Warfare, as any fule kno, is already well established.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Baco Foil

    "the problem of drilling holes in car bodywork, parts of which are made from quite heavy steel."

    A few years back I was called in to take a look at a large overhead crane located in our local docks.

    The crane was used to sort and load the huge rolls of steel that is the raw material for the car plants in the UK at the time.

    Couldn't help but notice that some of the steel resembled Baco Foil, while other rolls were a lot sturdier.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Electro...Pulse Drill

    This is 1970 technology known as EDM (eletro-discharge machining.) It is used to make dies from harden steel and was computer controlled in the '70s. db

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Not EDM

      EDM erodes material away by directed spark erosion. This uses the same effect that makes a soda can get all wrinkled when you put it in a coil and smack it with a lot of current.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Directed energy device

    Of course it would have to be a directed-energy device ... otherwise it would fry its own control circuitry!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    fingernail unit of measurement ???

    is that vertical of horizontal ?

    verticle would have a higher Nm force than horizontal !

    Thumbnail 4TW ... deflating peoples egos and lives for a 100,000 years

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    new weapon type from babylon5

    the PPG

  17. Dennis O'Connor

    Sure it works on metal, but...

    The article didn't discuss the efficacy of EMPs slicing through human flesh vs. a traditional laser. Doesn't the EMP require a ferrous metal to truly be effective?

    In the meantime, my sharks will continue to be fitted with conventional semi-futuristic armaments. And jet packs.

  18. Daniel Wilkie

    @Electro...Pulse Drill #

    I don't think it is, EDM doesn't use directed EMP does it, i thought it was just used for forming shapes rather than cutting holes.

    Could be wrong though, my only memory of it is from a textbook years ago!

  19. raving angry loony

    another advantage

    If it's also generating an EMP when it makes holes, one advantage is that anyone working nearby will have their phone wiped. Handy for enforcing "no contact with outside world" directives, no?

    If not, perhaps they could add it as a "feature" for later...

    Then sell me one so I can "turn off" the phones of certain people in restaurants. You know who you are, Ms I-Have-To-Yell-In-My-Phone-To-Be-Heard and Mr Ignore-The-Annoying-Ringtone-But-Leave-It-On at tables 4 and 12. Yes, you. Fucking self-important gits.

  20. Jacqui

    Plasma cutter

    These are very very effective up to half inch plate ~3- amp single phase and you do not need to design a new coil assembly for every hole shape.

    Robotic plasma cutters have been around for what feels like centuries.

  21. Charles 9

    Re: new weapon type from babylon5

    We've been making some progress with the use of plasma as a tool, but phased plasma at a distance we haven't quite figured out yet.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Goldfinger would be shorter

    Do you expect me to talk?

    No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to ... Oh my, that was much faster.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Practical application?

    >" the barrier, made of super-strength steel, has been hidden deep underground.

    > The BBC has been told that it was manufactured in the US, that it fits together in similar fashion to a jigsaw, and that it has been tested to ensure it is bomb proof.

    > It cannot be cut or melted - in short it is impenetrable. "

    Heh. Let's see...

  24. tim 4


    in firearms mfg and mods, magnaporting can be done by edm, as can cutting or shaping/ , and or drilling in various locations. it's used for socketing bolts, removing broken taps or bits , and occasionally for smoothing internal areas that are hard to reach otherwise. much more flexible in use than just BLOWING A HOLE IN THE MATERIAL!!

    and what ABOUT non-ferrous material... does it just induction heat it into slag??? if it actually worked on nicu or alumibronze , that could be a godsend for heavy industry... but just light and channel steel, get serious.

  25. Head


    Could be a very good and cheap way of creating dyes to mould said car parts in... just line up hundreds of steel sheets, cut each to form perpendicular shapes, stack them atop each other, weld together, new dye ready to go.

  26. Andy Dent 2


    Head-mounted EMP

    The new tool of choice for Water Environment Evil Dictators to fit to their sharks.

    Mine's the one with the seeds in the pocket and the white cat hairs.

  27. Rogan Paneer

    History repeats

    @ac 00:31. re Goldfinger- what are the odds that the next Bond movie will have a 'homage to the Goldfinger laser scene' scene, using an electropulse drill. White cats and Teutonic accents optional.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Total pain

    According to Dr Kräusel, the pressure exerted on the metal by the electromagnetic pulse drill is equivalent to balancing three cars atop one another supported on a single fingernail.


    "The researchers develop now the coils for various cutting geometries," add Fraunhofer spokespersons.

    Wir sprechen richtig gut Deutsch, naturlich.

  29. David Sidebotham
    Jobs Halo


    So it is seven times faster. 1.4 seconds divided by 200mseconds. That would be about right.

    Tautology dear chap. Tautology.

    1. Ian 54

      yes, but

      I love the idea that taking 1.4 seconds is described as "a long time"! C'mon, how fast do you need to cut a hole?

      suppose a car has, say 100 holes cut into it. Wow, with this new tech we can save the a massive 120 seconds per car. let's see, we pay the robots that do the hole cutting ah, nothing per hour. so unless we can make the cars on the assembly line race past the robots at 1 per 20 seconds (which might make the positioning of the robot cutters a bit tricky), we don't save anything.


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