Micromachining of plastics using micro-end mills
This project aims to 1) provide an understanding of the mechanics of the micro-end milling process, and 2) develop a novel way of manufacturing micro-devices that is applicable to plastic materials. The manufacture of micro-devices is currently primarily by lithography or soft polymer moulding, which limits them to silicon, glass and soft carbon based polymers as their starting material. This also places limitations on the scope of micro-devices that can be produced. Although developments are being carried internationally to expand the processes available for micro-device manufacture, the CNC machining process found in every mechanical workshop and industry has not been developed to any significant extent for the manufacture of micro-devices. The use of plastics for micro-device manufacturing has been expanding rapidly but there is no research as to the behaviour of plastics during micromachining.
Description of Work:
- Carry out cuts with end-mills (diameters from 25 to 200 micrometres) and vary the feed-rate, rpm of the end-mill, depth and width of cut, and base materials (soft plastic through to hard metals).
- Measure the surface roughness and accuracy of the cut using the atomic force microscope (AFM) available in ITEE.
- Develop a model to predict the surface roughness and cut accuracy, taking into account end-mill deflection, material properties and cutting parameters.