Development of a Nanometric Machining Center for Ultraprecision Manufacturing
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The demand for reduced-size components and devices is pervasive throughout industrial and commerical sectors. This drive to reduce the achievable size of parts and features has furthered the developmen of processes and tools capable of micro scale fabrication. In particular, one of the directions this field has taken is in scaling down traditional machine tools. Being a relatively young area of manufacturing, the area of miniaturized machining is still developing and a significant portion of work remains yet to be done. As a thorough understanding of this area is still developing, experimental tests play a significant role furthering this process. Therefore the direction of this project has been to explore this field using a predominantly experimental approach. The aim of it being to realize a miniaturized machine tool capable of fabricating features and even parts on the micro scale. Additionally the machine should be controlled as a standard milling machine and also be capable of generating free form three dimensional parts. In parallel to developing a machine tool, the project has also been directed at examining the machine's capabilities through a range of tests. For creating such a machine tool, the process was carried out in a two stages. Each stage involved a miniaturized machine tool at a different level. The first machine tool produced primarily served as a proof of concept structure. By performing a range of tests on this machine, it allowed for useful insights be to gained for developing the subsequent stage along with establishing some base performance characteristics which were also used for subsequent comparisons. The primary contributions made in this research include: the development of a miniaturized machine, the completion of experiments that map out the machine's capabilities, and theoretical calculations which further define these limits.