High-aspect-ratio WC-Co microstructure produced by the combination of LIGA and micro-EDM

TitleHigh-aspect-ratio WC-Co microstructure produced by the combination of LIGA and micro-EDM
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsTakahata, K., N. Shibaike, and H. Guckel
JournalMicrosystem Technologies
Date PublishedAUG
Type of ArticleArticle

A high-aspect-ratio WC-Co (tungsten carbide super hard alloy) microstructure has been produced by a new microfabrication process which combines LIGA and micro-EDM (electro-discharge machining). The 1 mm long microstructure with gear pattern has a variation of 4 mu m in the outside diameter along its length. In the process, LIGA fabricated electrodes of negative geometry are electroplated in a metal plate for use in the micro-EDM. Since the arrangement is extremely precise the serial micro-EDM processes for one workpiece can be implemented by exchanging worn electrodes for new ones via X-Y positioning between the workpiece and each electrode. In this type of machining any bulk conductor can be chosen as the material, which is to be shaped into a microstructure. WC-Co chosen in this experiment has a much larger Young's modulus and hardness than ordinary electroplated materials. The fabricated high-aspect-ratio WC-Co microstructures can have high resistance to buckling and wear when used as mechanical components or tools.

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