Although the parts produced in the micromachining process are, of course, tiny, they are no less complex than what the typical shop faces every day. Producing these small features can create an even greater challenge for developing a careful, optimized plan to save component materials, reduce cycle times, decrease tooling costs and idle machine time, and improve part quality. The proper tooling and machining options are critical to making this happen.
Microlution Inc. is a Chicago-based machine tool manufacturer specializing in building CNC machines that have been optimized to fabricate small, high precision parts. The company’s "micro" machine tools are based on the concept that such parts should be machined on small, high performance machine tools. Its CNC micro machining centers have been used to produce parts from a range of materials, including plastics, metals, glass and ceramics and have shown to be a cost effective solution for both prototyping and high volume applications.
Making the micro sized parts is one thing; measuring them is another. Once the parts are produced, verifying that they meet spec can present challenges as well. But there are equipment options for the inspection process. “Micro Measuring” takes a look at how one shop uses vision systems such as a particle counting microscope to measure parts that are barely big enough to see with the naked eye.