To produce the laser targets needed for laser plasma experiments, the CEA target department uses different mechanical machining techniques and develops methods that are consistent with the target requirements in terms of quality, timing, and cost.

Combining these aims involves several challenges. First, laser experiments need a wide range of target geometries with common points: reduced dimensions (millimetric range) and thin walls (micrometric range), as well as very strict dimensional and geometric specifications. According to these requirements, the target specifications demand the machining of different kinds of materials from metals (aluminum, copper, and gold) to polymers and low-density foams.

In this context, the versatility of the machining processes is the key issue. These challenges necessitate the development and upgrading of machining techniques and methods as well as optimizing the engineering design to use the full potential of these techniques. In this presentation, three main machining processes are developed and illustrated: adaptations of machine tools for planar targets (by the flycutting method) and for machining complex shapes (combined milling and turning), the development of the original process to produce a baffle hohlraum, and the parametric optimizations of machining tantalum aerogel.