A process and apparatus for selectively removing a plastic layer laminated to a metal substrate. A high intensity laser beam is precisely directed to open areas of a thin metallic mask overlying the plastic layer. During removal of the plastic layer from the metal substrate, the system also removes the adhesive resin which attaches the layers. A movable table transfers the sample to be skived across the laser beam and the beam is caused to sweep the sample in a rotating pattern by means of a rotating wobble-plate mirror system. The plastic layer and the adhesive resin which attaches it to the metal substrate are removed by a sequential combination of vaporization and explosion processes.