The paper analyses the drilling as the machining process with applied adaptive control. Experience with the use of NC machine tools shows that cutting conditions cannot be optimized without more detailed knowledge of the machining process. The numerical control of the machine tool gives more space to the technologist for creative control of the cutting process. The essence of the adaptive machining system lies in the response to the machining conditions (change in allowance, cutting width, material hardness). In doing so, it maintains a constant selected parameter, e.g. cutting force. In finishing operations, such a criterion may be the quality of the machined surface.