(MEDM)-E-3: MEMS-enabled micro-electro-discharge machining

Title(MEDM)-E-3: MEMS-enabled micro-electro-discharge machining
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsChaitanya, C. R. A., and K. Takahata
JournalJournal of MICROMechanics and MICROEngineering

This paper reports a photolithography compatible micro-electro-discharge machining technique that is performed with microelectrode actuators driven by hydrodynamic force. The movable planar electrodes suspended by the anchors are microfabricated directly on the workpiece. The electrode structures with fixed-fixed and cantilever configurations are defined by patterning 18 mu m thick copper foil laminated on the workpiece through an intermediate photoresist layer and released by sacrificial etching of the resist layer. All the patterning and sacrificial etching steps are performed using dry-film photoresists towards achieving high scalability of the machining technique to large-area applications. The parasitic capacitance of the electrode structure is used to form a resistance-capacitance circuit for the generation of pulsed spark discharge between the electrode and the workpiece. The suspended electrodes are actuated towards the workpiece using the downflow of dielectric machining fluid, initiating and sustaining the machining process. Micromachining of stainless steel is experimentally demonstrated with a machining voltage of 90 V and continuous flow of the fluid at a velocity of 3.4-3.9 m s(-1), providing a removal depth of 20 mu m with an average surface roughness of 520 nm. The experimental results of the electrode actuation are shown to agree well with the theoretical estimations.


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