The chip light emission, chip morphology, burr formation and machined surface in drilling of Zr-based bulk metallic glass (BMG) material are investigated. This study demonstrates that the work- and tool-material as well as the feed rate and spindle speed, two drilling process parameters, all affect the onset of chip light emission. Slow feed rate and high spindle speed increase the specific cutting energy and promote the exothermic oxidation and light emission of the chip. Six types of chip morphology, powder, short ribbon, long ribbon. long spiral, long ribbon tangled. and fan, are observed in BMG drilling. The long ribbon tangled chip morphology is unique for BMG material. On the machined surface under quick stop condition, the fracture topography unique to metallic glass with tributary, void, and vein patterns is observed. Different burr formations are observed: the roll-over shape in the entry and the crown shape in the exit edge. The size of burr in the exit edge is typically larger than that in the entrance edge. High feed rate helps to reduce the size of burr in both entrance and exit edges. This Study concludes that the WC-Co tool-material, due to its high thermal conductivity and hardness, performs better in drilling BMG than the high speed steel tool. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.