Xiaokun Li, Yuankai Ren, Zhiyuan Wei and Yong Liu* Pages 313 - 325 ( 13 )
Background: The fabrication of microstructures with high machining quality is always difficult when it is concerned with non-conductive hard and brittle materials such as glass and engineering ceramics. It is reported in related papers and patents that Electrochemical Discharge Machining (ECDM) process is a good choice for machining non-conductive, hard and brittle materials. However, the machining performance of ECDM process, especially in the aspect of geometric accuracy and surface quality, needs to be greatly improved.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to improve the machining quality of conventional ECDM process by introducing ultrasonic vibration to ECDM process, develop an Ultrasonic Vibration Assisted Micro Electrochemical Discharge Machining (UAECDM) tool, and investigate the improvements of the machining performance by means of comparative experiments.
Methods: Firstly, the machining principle of UAECDM was investigated, and the effects of ultrasonic vibration are discussed with the analysis of the micro process. Secondly, the hardware system, which consists of a machine tool body, XY and Z axes, an ultrasonic spindle system and motion control system, was established; and the software system was developed based on the analysis of the overall workflow of the machining process. Finally, comparative experiments, including ECDM drilling, UAECDM drilling, ECDM milling and UAECDM milling, were carried out to reveal the improvements of the machining quality.
Results: In the UAECDM group, a micro-hole with the inlet diameter of 133.2µm as well as the 3 × 3 array of micro holes was fabricated on the glass workpiece with 300µm thickness, and a microgroove with the width of 119.2µm was successfully milled on the glass workpiece. It is shown in both microscopic photographs and optical measurements that the microstructures fabricated by UAECDM have better machining quality compared with similar microstructures fabricated by ECDM.
Conclusion: Based on comparative experiments and discussions of the results, it has been proved that the machine tool can meet the requirement of the ultrasonic vibration-assisted micro electrochemical discharge machining and can improve the geometric accuracy and surface quality significantly.
Electrochemical Discharge Machining (ECDM), geometric accuracy, machining quality, micro cracks, micromachining tool, ultrasonic vibration, surface quality.
Associated Engineering Research Center of Mechanics & Mechatronic Equipment, Shandong University, Weihai 264209, Associated Engineering Research Center of Mechanics & Mechatronic Equipment, Shandong University, Weihai 264209, Associated Engineering Research Center of Mechanics & Mechatronic Equipment, Shandong University, Weihai 264209, Associated Engineering Research Center of Mechanics & Mechatronic Equipment, Shandong University, Weihai 264209