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Batch mode micro-electro-discharge machining

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2 Author(s)

This paper describes a micro-electro-discharge machining (micro-EDM) technique that uses electrode arrays to achieve high parallelism and throughput in the machining. It explores constraints in the fabrication and usage of high aspect ratio LIGA-fabricated electrode arrays, as well as the limits imposed by the pulse discharge circuits on machining rates. An array of 400 Cu electrodes with 20 μm diameter was used to machine perforations in 50-μm-thick stainless steel. To increase the spatial and temporal multiplicity of discharge pulses, arrays of electrodes with lithographically fabricated interconnect and block-wise independent pulse control resistance-capacitance (RC) circuits are used, resulting in >100× improvement in throughput compared to single electrodes. However, it was found to compromise surface smoothness. A modified pulse generation scheme that exploits the parasitic capacitance of the interconnect offers similarly high machining rates and is more amenable to integration. Stainless steel workpieces of 100 μm thickness were machined by 100 μm×100 μm square cross-section electrodes using in 85 s using an 80-V power supply. Surface smoothness was unaffected by electrode multiplicity. Using electrode arrays with four circuits, batch production of 36 WC-Co gears with 300 μm outside diameter and 70 μm thickness in 15 min is demonstrated

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 2 )