International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 www.elsevier.

com/locate/ijmactool

CNC microturning: an application to miniaturization
M. Azizur Rahman, M. Rahman*, A. Senthil Kumar, H.S. Lim
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576 Received 2 July 2004; accepted 13 October 2004 Available online 23 November 2004

Abstract Micromachining is the basic technology of microengineering for the production of miniature components. One group of tool based micromachining technology is CNC microturning. It is a conventional material removal process that has been miniaturized. The objective of this study is to asses the machinability of brass, aluminium alloy and stainless steel during external cylindrical longitudinal microturning process for different workpiece–tool combinations. Experiments were carried out by varying the depth of cut, feed rate and spindle speed. One parameter was varied while the other two were kept constant in order to identify the best combination of cutting parameters. Machinability assessment was done by force analysis, chip analysis and tool wear criterion. Microshafts were fabricated with brass, aluminium alloy and stainless steel. Finally, microturning process was successfully applied to fabricate compound shaped micropins of diameter less than 0.5 mm. q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Micromachining; CNC microturning; Miniaturization; Microshaft; Micropin; Fabrication

1. Introduction The last decade has shown an ever-increasing interest in higher precision and miniaturization in a wide range of manufacturing activities. These growing trends have led to new requirements in machining, especially in micromachining. It is the key technology of microengineering to produce miniature components and microproducts. Many studies have been carried out in previous years to fabricate microfunctional structures and components. Micromachining technology using photolithography on silicon substrate is one of the key processes used to fabricate microstructures. But the microproducts produced by photolithography have the limitations of low aspect ratio and quasi-3D structure. However, high aspect ratio products with 3D submicron structure can be possible to fabricate by deep X-ray lithography using the synchrotron radiation process and focus ion beam machining process. But, these are slow processes, and require special facilities [1]. On the other hand, conventional machining processes such as turning, milling and grinding have already been well established.
* Tel.: C65 6874 2168; fax: C65 6779 1459. E-mail address: mpemusta@nus.edu.sg (M. Rahman). 0890-6955/$ - see front matter q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ijmachtools.2004.10.003

The advancement in machine tool technology especially with the development of highly precise CNC machines also helps to achieve very fine shapes with high accuracy. In this regard, mechanical fabrication processes using solid tools are useful in terms of realizing complex 3D features on microscale [2]. If the applications of these conventional machining methods become available for the micromanufacturing process, the production process for microparts will be advanced as an extension of the traditional material removal processes [3]. One group of tool based micromachining technology is microturning. It is a conventional material removal process that has been miniaturized [4]. Microturning has the capability to produce 3D structures on microscale. As solid cutting tool is used in microturning, it can produce definite 3D shapes. In order to accurately and precisely control of cutting tool motions during machining, cutting path generation by CNC programming is employed. The major drawback of microturning process is that the machining force influences machining accuracy and the limit of machinable size [5]. Therefore, control of the reacting force during cutting is one of the important factors in improvement of machining accuracy. The value of the cutting force must be lower than that cause plastic

These CNC codes were then loaded onto the user interface of the miniature machine tool. . 1). Microturning of brass was done using both PCD and cermet inserts.4. and SumiDIA PCD positive insert type TCMD73X (0. Cutting force data acquisition system The cutting force signals were measured with a three component dynamometer (KISTLER Type 9256A1). feed rate and spindle speed on cutting force as well as chip formation were also observed. Starting the machining process CNC codes were generated automatically using SLICER (a program written in Borland CCC Builder 6. While machining of stainless steel was done with cermet insert rather than PCD to avoid diffusion of carbon between tool (PCD) and SS workpiece. 6.5 mm were also fabricated for biomedical application.1 mm.3. The cutting tools used were commercially available Sumitomo Cermet insert type TCGP73XEFM (0. 78 front clearance and 108 rake angle). Machining was then carried out according to the CNC codes generated and simultaneously cutting force was then recorded. Commercially available brass. 2. and close loop feed back control ensures accuracy to submicron dimensions. aluminium alloy and stainless steel materials were selected for microturning experiment with initial workpiece diameter of 5 mm. microturning.1 mm nose radius. One parameter was varied while the other two were kept constant in order to identify the best combination Fig. microEDM and microgrinding in the same machine. and the maximum travel range is 210 mm X!110 mm Y!110 mm Z. Finally.2. The motion controller of this machine can execute CNC program from the host computer. Experimental setup and procedure 2. Workpiece and cutting tool The workpiece materials used were commercially available brass. Microturning The objective of this section is to asses the machinability of brass. The dynamometer was mounted on the machine bed (Fig. 2. 1) and was connected to the cutting force data acquisition system. The machine tool has dimensions of 560 mm W!600 mm D!660 mm H. Compound shaped micorpins of diameter less than 0. microturning process was applied to fabricate microshaft applicable to other micromachining process such as microEDM. aluminium alloy and stainless steel during external cylindrical longitudinal microturning process for different workpiece–tool combinations. PCD insert was used as cutting tool.This is an effective method to overcome workpiece deflection in microturning process. This study attempts to evaluate the micromachinability of brass. 78 relief.632 M. It is possible to perform different micromachining process like micromilling. Machine tool The experiments were carried out in a three-axis multipurpose miniature machine tool. The effects of depth of cut. Dynamometer and workpiece setup The workpiece. aluminium alloy and 316 L SS rod of 6.5. Azizur Rahman et al. The force signals were subsequently amplified by a Kistler charge amplifier and then passed through an analog-digital interface. 1.3 mm diameter. 2. mounted below the tool holder. Experiments were carried out by varying the depth of cut (t). was clamped in the spindle unit of the machine.1. Sony PC 208 Ax recorder recorded the cutting force signals. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 deformation of the workpiece [3]. 2.3 mm diameter rod. During machining of aluminium alloy.1 mm nose radius. microdrilling.0 environment to generate CNC codes) according to the cutting parameters for the particular experiment. developed for high precision micromachining (Fig. Each axis has an optical linear scale with resolution of 0. Miniature machine tool and its control unit with force data acquisition system. Maximum cutting force (N) was measured for analysis in this study. Finally the real time cutting force was displayed on a computer screen. aluminium alloy and stainless steel with PCD and cermet inserts. feed rate (f) and spindle speed (s). Cutting tool was kept stationary and the rotational and the feed motions of the spindle carried out the machining process. Cutting tool insert was attached to the tool shank which was mounted below the tool holder. The tool shank used was Sumitomo type STGCR1010-09. chip breaker type) 3. 2.

At low depth of cut (tZ0. Effect of feed rate and spindle speed With the increase of feed rate. turning length was kept 200 mm. material removal rate increases which contribute to the increase in forces as can be seen from Fig. Fig.M. Effect of individual parameters is discussed in the following sections. In every case. 4. Force analysis for PCD insert The force acting on the tool was measured and was plotted graphically by varying the cutting parameters for machining of brass and aluminium alloy with PCD insert.1.1. 2). This results increased stresses acting on the tool. When cutting with large depth of cut in comparison to the roundness of the cutting edge. Fig. the work material is removed by conventional cutting and tangential force is dominant over thrust force. Effect of depth of cut Thrust (Ft) and tangential (Fc) forces acting on the tool were found greater for machining of SS with cermet insert than machining of brass (Fig. 3. 3. these forces also increased. 3. of cutting parameters. chip analysis and tool wear criterion. These results are quite similar to those obtained by many researchers for turning experiments. Force analysis for cermet insert The force acting on the tool was measured and plotted graphically by varying the cutting parameters for machining of brass and SS material. Effect of feed rate on forces for machining with cermet insert. chromium etc.1. the thrust force (Ft) proved to be the dominant force component. The tangential force (Fc) showed a distinctly lower value. Alloying elements in steel (carbon. the contact area between tool and workpiece increases. Fig. Effect of feed rate on force for machining with PCD insert. The reacting forces decreased with increasing speed as can be seen from Fig. Machinability assessment was done by force analysis. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 633 Fig. 3.1. manganese. Azizur Rahman et al. At very small depth of cut.) increase its strength. As a result. the plastic deformation such as rubbing and burnishing is dominant rather than cutting in the chip formation processes which generates relatively large thrust force. Effect of depth of cut on forces for machining with PCD insert. 5.5 mm). An increase in speed results decrease in material removal rate which reduces the tool force because of shorter work-tool contact length. Effect of spindle speed on forces for machining with cermet insert. . Fig. With increasing depth of cut. Effect of depth of cut on forces for machining with cermet insert. 4. 2. 3.2. 6. 3.2.

Effect of speed variation on forces for machining with PCD insert. 8.1. .634 M. With the increase of speed. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 3. 5. Brass. increased depth of cut resulted increased thrust and tangential forces. Fig.2. 3. 6. the frictional resistance between the tool and workpiece decreases because of less Fig. 7.2. Azizur Rahman et al. aluminium alloy and stainless steel chip surfaces in SEM. For both materials.2. Effect of feed rate and spindle speed The increase of feed rate gives rise to almost linear increase of thrust and tangential forces as can be seen form Fig. Effect of depth of cut The thrust force acting on the tool was found to be greater for machining of brass with PCD insert than machining of aluminium alloy with the same insert as shown in Fig.

Since it is constrained only by the rake face of the tool. The chip tends to spread sideways. Therefore. The top and bottom surfaces of chip observed in SEM are shown in Fig. the purpose of this section is to depict the SEM (scanning electron microscopic) observations of chip formation. Detailed knowledge of the chip formation process is required for the understanding of the accuracy and condition of the machined surface of the desired component. The top surface is plastically deformed and always Fig. SEM micrographs of brass chips at different cutting conditions. 9.M. 3. 7. Therefore. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 635 material removal rate which reduces the force components as can be seen from Fig. Azizur Rahman et al. the metal is free to move in all other directions as it is formed into the chip. 8. attention was also given in this research to the formation of the chip. The cross-section of the chip is not strictly rectangular. so that the width is greater than the depth of cut. which is a waste product. . Chip analysis The main objective of machining is the shaping of the new work surface.3.

feed rate and spindle speed were kept constant as 6 mm/rev and 1000 rev/ min. continuous slice chips with irregular shape were formed when depth of cut was 0.5 mm as shown in Fig. Observations on the chip formation using SEM indicated that in microturning of brass. 12. microsurface of chips were also investigated and long continuous chip formation was observed as shown in Fig. 9(a).1.636 M. Fig. SEM observation of cutting tool flank wear. At high depth of cut (tZ20 mm) condition. The bottom surface. SEM observation indicated that continuous chips were formed in both the cutting conditions.3. Top surface of brass chip shows ‘lamellar’ structure. with increasing speed. 9(a) and (b) reports on the types of brass chips that have been observed. . depth of cut was 5 mm and speeds were: 1000 and 4000 rev/min. The cutting conditions were: depth of cut 5 mm. 11. 3.3. and possesses long scratch marks. Effect of depth of cut Fig. While aluminum alloy and SS chip top surface shows ‘fold’ type structure. 3. Effect of feed rate SEM micrographs of chips formed under two different feed rates can be seen from Fig. 9(b). / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 Fig. Effect of spindle speed Effect of speed on chip formation was also observed as can be seen from SEM micrographs of Fig.2. which was in contact with the tool. For all three materials. Feed rate was kept as 0.3. 10. 9(e) and (f). 3. Fig. and how the shapes of the chips have been seen to vary with depth of cut. 9(c) and (d). chip breaking occurred [6].3. at low cutting depth. Cutting tool setup for m-pin machining. speed 1000 rev/min and two different feed rates were 6 mm/rev and 30 mm/rev. respectively. is found to be much smoother. rubbing and abrasive action is more dominant than actual cutting.1 mm/s. Workpiece deflection in microturning. produces a rough surface usually with minute corrugations. In all cases. Azizur Rahman et al. This was due to the reason that.

M. Azizur Rahman et al. 10(a). Fig. . / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 637 3. 10(b) shows the flank wear during machining operation of a PCD insert. Fine groove wear on the flank face of the PCD insert can be seen form the picture. A fine abrasive tool wear on the flank face of the cermet insert can be seen form SEM picture. Fig. Different stages of m-pin fabrication process. 13. Tool wear The flank wear of a cermet insert during microturning operation is shown in Fig.4.

The larger Fig. for which the shaft will not deflect plastically.00000 Finishing Bending stress. 14 gives an overview of the tiny micropin with respect to a 0. 15. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 4. by reducing the reacting thrust force to a sufficiently low level. SEM image of compound shaped micropin. The maximum stress which emerges in the workpiece should be restrained below the level that causes plastic deformation. Fig.76 mm effective length was fabricated with brass material. workpiece deflection can be minimized. Miniature shafts were fabricated using microturning by applying step cutting process. Fig. Fig.3 1500. Micropin fabrication 4.05 2000.50 0. 14. If F is the reacting force on the tool at the tip and d is the diameter of the cylindrical workpiece. During turning operation. each successive stage was followed by the next stage to get the final shape of Stage-V. d Z Fl3 64Fl3 Z 3EI 3pEd4 32Fl pd 3 (1) Table 1 Cutting conditions for micropin fabrication process Operation Roughing Parameters Depth of cut Feed rate Speed Depth of cut Feed rate Speed Units mm mm/s rpm mm mm/s rpm Straight turning 20.00000 0. PCD insert was used as Tool-1 for forward cutting and HSS tool was used as Tool-2 for reverse cutting. 4. Fabricated micropin A micropin of 1.2. Fabrication of miniature components 4. 11. was determined by applying Eqs. Microshaft fabrication A microshaft is a useful tool for other micromachining process such as microEDM.2.2 mm for which the bending stress (s) was calculated and found that s!sy where sy is the yield stress of the brass. several microshafts were fabricated with brass.1. 13 shows the chronological development of the micropin fabrication process both schematically and photographically. 12. During machining. The step size (l) was kept 0. Photograph of tiny micropin and 0. Stages-III–V required the machining with Tool-2. Both straight microturning and taper microturning process were applied for the fabrication. Starting with Stage-I.638 M. two cutting tools were used.0000 3. Tool-2 acted as left hand tool which was a high speed steel form tool grounded to make a sharp cutting edge.2. Fabrication process The setup for workpiece and cutting tool for micropin fabrication process is shown in Fig. the deflection and maximum stress can be estimated. the deflection of the workpiece and the produced maximum stress can be estimated by a simple material strength equation as follows: Deflection. s Z (2) By measuring the thrust force at a particular workpiece dimension. During machining.80 0.00 0. The work is easily deflected by the reacting force with a reduction in its rigidity according to the decrease in its diameter as shown in Fig. (1) and (2). In this study.10 1500.0000 Taper turning 0. the thrust force is important in determining the deflection (d) of the workpiece. Azizur Rahman et al. Stages-I and -II involved the machining with Tool-1. Tool-1 was commercially available PCD or cermet insert fixed in the tool shank to act as a right hand tool.5 mm lead pencil.1 2000. . The step size (l). aluminium alloy and stainless steel materials.1. Both the tools were fixed to the tool holder which was mounted on the top of machine bed. 4.5 mm lead of a pencil. Cutting conditions are given in Table 1. During the fabrication process.2. Thus.0 0.

[6] M. Conclusions The following conclusions can be drawn from this study. Mizutani. † A wide range of tests was conducted as there is presently no cutting data available for microturning of brass. A. Lu.M. A. Senthil Kumar. K. 15 shows the SEM image of the micropin. Annals of the CIRP 49 (2) (2000) 473–488. National University of Singapore. Straight microshaft and microshaft with tapered tip were fabricated using brass. During the observations. was estimated by applying material strength equations. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 45 (2005) 631–639 639 and smaller diameters of the pin were 477 and 275 mm. is found to be much smoother than top surface which was plastically deformed with corrugated structure. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Mechanical Engineering. Rahman. CNC microturning: an application to miniaturization. AM-35. The chip bottom surface. Lim. Senthil Kumar. † Chip morphology was studied using SEM analysis. chips were of irregular and slice type structures. † Microturning is a conventional material removal process that has been miniaturized. Singapore. Azizur Rahman et al. † Finally. Improvement of form accuracy in hybrid machining of microstructures. Precision Engineering 26 (2002) 263–268.S. [2] K. . regular curly chips were formed.A. With increasing depth of cut. respectively. At low depth of cut conditions. † It was found that depth of cut (t) is the most influential cutting parameter in microturning. Dhaka. H. Step cutting process was developed to eliminate workpiece deflection problem during machining. Asad. Lim. During machining. aluminium alloy and stainless steel materials.A. Yoneyama. for which the shaft will not deflect plastically.S. thrust force was the dominating force component. A. MEng Thesis (submitted for examination). Micro cutting in the micro lathe turning system. instructions to the machine are supplied as an ordered set of numerical control (NC) codes to achieve micron range dimensions. abrasive wear of cermet insert was observed on the flank face while PCD insert showed groove wear in the flank face. aluminium alloy and SS materials. References [1] H. Micro-drilling of monocrystalline silicon using a cutting tool. microturning process was successfully applied to fabricate milli-structures with microfeatures. feed rate (f) and spindle speed (s) with commercially available PCD and cermet inserts. it was found that chips tend to spread sideways so that the width is greater than the depth of cut.A. at large depth of cut condition. the value of tangential force was found much higher than that of thrust force. [3] Z. Masuzawa. International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture 39 (1999) 1171–1183. Egashira. [4] M. M. During machining process. 5. T. Tiny micropins were also fabricated. Rahman.M. † Machine tool programming is essential to the successful use of the miniature machine tool developed for high precision micromachining. Fig. Experiments were carried out by varying the depth of cut (t). Rahman. M. State of the art of micromachining. At shallow depth of cut condition. Journal of Electronic Materials 31 (10) (2002) 1032–1038.B. 2004. Fabrication of miniature components using microturning. which was in contact of the tool. However. The step size. Chip breaking was observed at high speed conditions. † Cutting tool performance in microturning was investigated while machining of brass with PCD and cermet inserts. [5] T. the plastic deformation such as rubbing and burnishing is dominant which generate relatively large thrust force. Rahman. At very small depth of cut. The most serious problem encountered during microturning is the cutting force which tends to bend the workpiece. 2003 pp.