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International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 335–342 www.elsevier.com/locate/ijmactool
Inﬂuence of tool vibration on machining performance in electrochemical micro-machining of copper
B. BhattacharyyaÃ, M. Malapati, J. Munda, A. Sarkar
Department of Production Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata 700 032, India Received 28 June 2005; received in revised form 15 March 2006; accepted 17 March 2006 Available online 5 May 2006
Abstract Electrochemical micro-machining (EMM) appears to be promising as a future micro-machining technique since in many areas of applications, it offers several advantages, including biomedical and MEMS applications. A suitable micro-tool vibration system has been developed, which consists of tool-holding unit, micro-tool vibrating unit, etc. The developed system was used successfully to control material removal rate (MRR) and machining accuracy to meet the micro-machining requirements. Micro-holes have been produced on thin copper workpiece by EMM with stainless-steel micro-tool. Experiments have been carried out to investigate the most effective values of process parameters such as micro-tool vibration frequency, amplitude and electrolyte concentration for producing micro-hole with high accuracy and appreciable amount of MRR. From the experimental results and SEM micrographs, it is evident that the introduction of micro-tool vibration improves EMM performance characteristics. Lower electrolyte concentration in the range of 15–20 g/l reduces stray current effects. Hertz (Hz) range of tool vibration frequency improves the removal of sludge and precipitates from very small interelectrode gap. The 150–200 Hz range of tool vibration frequency can be recommended for EMM, which provides a better electrochemical machining in the narrow end gap. Compared to kHz range, Hz range micro-tool’s vibration improves the MRR and accuracy in EMM. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Electrochemical micro-machining; Tool vibration; Copper
1. Introduction Electrochemical machining (ECM) has seen a resurgence of industrial interest within the last couple of decades due to its many advantages such as no tool wear, stress free and smooth surfaces of machined product and ability to machine complex shape in electrically conductive materials, regardless of their hardness. When this ECM process is applied to the micro-machining range for manufacturing ultra-precision shape, it is called electrochemical micromachining (EMM). Micro-machining may literally mean the machining of the dimension between 1 and 999 mm. However, as a technical term, it also means the smaller amount of machining that cannot be achieved directly by a conventional technique . Micro-machining technology plays an increasingly decisive role in the miniaturization of
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components ranging from biomedical applications to chemical micro-reactors and sensors. EMM appears to be promising as a future micro-machining technique since in many areas of applications, it offers several advantages that include high material removal rate (MRR), better precision and control, rapid machining time, reliable, ﬂexible, environmentally acceptable and it also permits proper machining of chemically resistant materials like titanium, copper alloys, super alloys and stainless steel, which are widely used in biomedical, electronic and MEMS applications [2–5]. Machining accuracy can be improved by hybridized ECM with low-frequency tool vibration . Proper removal of sludge and precipitates from the very narrow machining gap in EMM is a challenge to the researchers for improving the machining accuracy. However, to exploit the full potential of EMM, research is still needed to improve the machining accuracy by controlling the different machining parameters. It necessitates the development of a suitable micro-tool vibration system in
Reaction products that are formed during machining are removed from IEG by means of low-pressure electrolyte jet. 3. etc. . The wires from the Piezo-electric ceramic plate Fig. which removes the foreign material presented in the electrolyte. Tool holder unit To avoid chemical reaction with the electrolyte and provide electrical insulation. i. e. In EMM process. These sparks can be avoided using acidic electrolyte and vibration of the micro-tool. experiments have been planned to investigate the inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequencies on MRR and accuracy during micro-machining. Electrical wires are connected with the Piezoelectric ceramic plate as well as with the micro-tool separately. To carry out the experiments with vibrating micro-tool. electrical power and controlling system. To study the effects of micro-tool vibration in EMM. a micro-tool vibration system is developed. The developed system consists of various sub-components. Another hollow cylindrical rod is used to support the micro-tool. . A copper rod is soldered with the Piezoelectric ceramic plate. the inter-electrode gap (IEG) is very small and narrow for achieving higher machining accuracy in the micro-machining domain . The upper cylindrical portion of the tool holder unit. there may be possibility of striking reaction products in between micro-tool and work piece that may cause for generation of micro-sparks. Micro-tool vibration system In electrochemical micro-machining. Pulsed generating unit is utilized to provide required pulse nature of power supply for micro-machining operation that improves the accuracy and surface ﬁnish of the machined job. microprocessor and stepper motor along with controlling units. Details of the EMM experimental set-up. safe. Piezo-electric transducer (PZT) can be used for vibrating micro-tools. Experimental set-up Considering the inﬂuence of predominant process characteristics. the electrolyte must have good chemical stability. 1. 1 represents a schematic diagram of the various system components of the micro-machining system. Fig. the electrolyte is then passed through a settling tank and a ﬁlter. which may enhance the end gap and improve the circulation of electrolyte that may result in reduction or elimination of micro-spark generation . on which the micro-tool is mounted. a well-planned research programme has been considered for experimentation in the developed EMM system . the tool holder unit is made of perspex material. Keeping in view of the above requirements. This developed system consists mainly of two sub-units. which in turn reduces machining accuracy.g.1. Stepper motor is used to give the feed motion to the micro-tool and it is controlled by Intel 8085 microprocessor. controlled electrolyte ﬂow system. a unique hybridized EMM set-up has been developed with a micro-tool vibration system. The lower portion of this cylindrical rod is joined with an upper disc and the upper disc is coupled with another lower disc of same diameter. Electrical power and controlling system comprises of pulse generating unit.e. After machining. microtool vibrating unit. less throwing power. 2. The electrolyte is directed through the nozzles to the machining zone with a low-pressure setting without affecting the stability of the micro-tool and in turn the shape accuracy. as follows: (i) tool holder unit and (ii) tool vibrator unit. The IEG should be maintained in the range of 5–15 mm for effective machining operation. During this process. 3. The PZT plate is placed in between upper and lower discs with the help of a supporting plate. mechanical machining unit.ARTICLE IN PRESS 336 B. Bhattacharyya et al. threaded portion is mounted in the toolfeeding unit. low viscosity and high conductivity for achieving good surface ﬁnish and accuracy. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 335–342 EMM for effective micro-machining operation. Acidic electrolyte does not produce any insoluble reaction products during machining but causes chemical reaction with work piece material.
ARTICLE IN PRESS B. i. The amplitudes were measured by true RMS multimeter. + 112 mm and + 102.5–25 kHz.e. i. 50. The lower supporting plate was made of brass and upper plate was made of the ceramic material.e. Micro-tool feed rate was maintained as low as possible.e. For studying the effects of various predominant process parameters.e. i. electrolyte concentration. 4. proper scheme has been designed with the utilization of EMM experimental set-up with vibrating micro-tool unit. The PZT used for experiments has resonant frequency of 6. It converts direct current (DC) power supply to the alternating current (AC) power in the load. The weight of test pieces was measured before and after machining by using precision weighing machine (Mettler Toledo. 13. Table 1 exhibits the detailed speciﬁcation of the PZT used for the development. The MRR and accuracy was observed for various sets of experiments with different combinations of process parameters. 3. Piezo-electric ceramic element used for experiments was made by Mobicon Tweeter Ltd. 55 Hz frequency power supply and around 20 g/l electrolyte concentration desired machining accuracy can be achieved with highest possible amount of material removal . (iii) Range of amplitude: 1 –8. micro-tool vibration frequency on accuracy. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 335–342 337 are connected with an audio oscillator circuit to get required electrical pulses that create desired vibration. 18 and 23 kHz vibration frequencies were selected for the micro-tool vibrating unit. an audio oscillator was used to vibrate the micro-tool tip to achieve better MRR with high accuracy and surface quality. which in turn vibrates the micro-tool.5-mm stainless-steel tool. in 2:1 ratio in order to achieve higher MRR. Oscillator circuit An oscillator is a device that incorporates active and passive circuit elements to generate sinusoidal or other repetitive waveforms. Table 1 Speciﬁcations of PZT Type Resonant frequency (kHz) 6. The oscillator supplies frequency and amplitude of vibration needed for the experiments.2.e. material removal and machining accuracy. As the micro-tool is connected to the Piezoelectric ceramic plate. Speciﬁcation of micro-tool vibration system (i) Range of diameter: 50–250 mm. Micro-hole inspection and measurement were performed with the help of measuring microscope (Olympus. The work-piece specimens were 15 mm Â 10 mm Â 0. So applied machining voltage of 3 V and power supply frequency of 55 Hz were selected for experiments. Experimental planning To analyse the inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration during EMM operation on the desired performance characteristic. Transistortype audio oscillator is used for this purpose and it works on wien-bridge principle.e. 3. Pulse on time was selected twice the off time. India) for calculating MRR. 4. Piezo-electric ceramic plate is vibrated in different frequencies and amplitudes by varying the frequencies and amplitudes of the oscillator. i.5B1 20 0. micro-machined holes were viewed through scanning electron microscope (SEM) and SEM micrographs were further analysed. i.2. 20 and 25 g/l. i. 3.45 .5 V-RMS. 150 and 200 Hz and kHz range. Bhattacharyya et al. Diameter of the plate used was 20 mm. Hz range i. 3. tool also vibrates according to the frequency and amplitude generated by the oscillator. + 237.15 mm bare copper plates.e. Two sets of amplitude. i. 0.e. The electrolyte used for experimentation was fresh aqueous solution of sodium nitrate (NaNO3) having concentrations of 15. Microtools of three different diameters were chosen for the experimentation. were selected for performing the experiments. So the values are in V-RMS unit. Piezo-electric ceramic transducer and audio oscillator were used for giving vibration to the micro-tool. In electrochemical micro-machining.5 Resonant impedance (O max) 250 Capacitance (PF at 1 kHz) 12 000 Input voltage (p–p max V) 30 D (mm) T (mm) MT-20T-6. Tool vibrator unit In tool vibrator unit.5 and 8 V-RMS.5 kHz.2 mm. It was found from the previous research that with 3 V. An oscillator circuit delivers an output voltage of a given waveform without the application of an external input signal. (ii) Range of frequency: Hertz range: 25–300 Hz Kilo-Hertz range: 2. Japan) and the radial over-cut of the machined micro-holes was noted. Switzerland) and machining time was noted with the help of stopwatch (Baker. 8. 100. Variable rectangular DC pulsed supply was used for experimentations. Amplitude of vibration can also be varied from 1 V-RMS to 8. which is the most appropriate value for the existing EMM set-up that can enhance the micro-machining accuracy.144 mm/min. Machining accuracy was measured in terms of overcut phenomena.5 V-RMS.1.3. A printed circuit board was engraved on the ceramic plate.
i. over-cut is low. 18 and 23 kHz at 15 and 20 g/l electrolyte concentrations.05 0 10 15 20 Electrolyte Concentration (g/l) Without tool vibration 200 Hz tool vibration Voltage --. 5. .144 mm/min tool feed rate and pulse on–off ratio of 2:1 for 15 and 20 g/l electrolyte concentrations. it is observed that over cut is much less when the micro-machining operation is performed with tool vibration system. Bhattacharyya et al. The micro-tool vibration creates pressure waves in the electrolyte and promotes better circulation of electrolyte and removal of sludge and precipitates from the narrow zone of micromachining. 3.5 1 0.e. Fig.NaNO3 Without tool vibration 200 Hz tool vibration 0. with and without the tool vibrating system. 0. i.ARTICLE IN PRESS 338 B. An attempt has been made to ﬁnd out an optimal combination of machining parameters for effective and efﬁcient electrochemical micro-machining. large number of ions associated with machining increase machining current and it results in high current density. From ﬁgure. 2 and 3 exhibit the comparison graph.5 Voltage --. 3 V machining voltage and the pulse on–off ratio of 2:1. From the graph. 2. Fig.1. Experimental results and discussions Experiments have been carried out on the EMM experimental set-up with vibrating micro-tool system to predict the inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency and electrolyte concentration on MRR and accuracy.3V Feed Rate—0. 3. 55 Hz frequency of power supply. it is observed that the values of MRR are almost same in both the cases.25 Overcut (mm) 0. At 15 g/l concentration.3 2 0.e. Fig. Tool vibration in the range of kHz does not produce any better ﬂushing effect and circulation of electrolyte during machining in the very narrow end gap. 4 exhibits the effect of micro-tool vibration frequency on MRR at 3 V machining voltage. which clearly reveals the fact that micro-tool vibration at these kHz ranges has no inﬂuence on the material removal mechanism. ions associated with machining are more because ions are concentrated in 2. with and without micro-tool vibration.144 mm/min Electrolyte---. 8.144 mm /min Electrolyte---. 2 shows the inﬂuence of electrolyte concentration on MRR with and without tool vibration and other parameter settings are 55 Hz frequency of power supply. 3 2. From the ﬁgure. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency on material removal rate. In 15 g/l electrolyte concentration. Fig.NaNO3 MRR (mg/min) 1. MRR is more than 15 g/l electrolyte concentration. which improves the overall machining performance. Inﬂuence of electrolyte concentration on material removal rate with and without tool vibration. Experimental results are plotted in the form of graphs to exhibit the inﬂuence of the machining parameters along with micro-tool vibration on MRR and accuracy.35 0. 5 depicts the inﬂuence of tool vibration frequency on overcut under the same parametric conditions as that of the previous experiment.NaNO3 2 MRR (mg/min) 1.15 0. Figs.5 1 Voltage --. 15 g/lit Conc. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 335–342 5.5 0 10 15 20 Electrolyte Concentration (g /l ) Fig. At higher concentration.1 0.3V Feed Rate—0.2 0. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency of kHz range on machining performance The ﬁrst sets of experiments are performed with the micro-tool vibration frequencies in kHz range. it is observed that the MRR lines for both the electrolyte concentrations are more or less horizontal.5 Conc.5 indicates the inﬂuence of electrolyte concentration on overcut with and without micro-tool vibration under the same parametric conditions. which in turn increases the MRR. 4. 20 g/lit 0 3 8 13 Frequency (kHz) 18 23 Fig. It is observed from the ﬁgure that for 20 g/l electrolyte concentration. Inﬂuence of electrolyte concentration on over-cut with and without tool vibration.3V Feed Rate—0. 13. Fig. 0.144 mm /min Electrolyte---.
2 0.3V Feed Rate—0.5 and 8 V-RMS. 55 Hz voltage frequency and 15 g/l electrolyte concentration with a vibrating micro-tool frequency of 13 kHz. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency on over-cut. Conc.1 0. Conc. which results in uncontrolled dissolution from the work piece during machining. 5.e. This improvement . 7. The introduction of micro-tool vibration in the Hz range during EMM process destroys the passive layer from the effective machining area of work piece surface and thereby improves the electrochemical machining actions. 6 shows SEM micrograph of machined micro-hole at 3 V machining voltage. 7 shows the SEM micrograph at 23 kHz vibrating tool frequency under the same parametric conditions.2. it can be observed that over-cut is about 40% less at the amplitude of 4. In smaller time period of micro-tool vibrations. 6. 9 indicates the inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration in the Hz range with amplitudes of vibration 4. 100.ARTICLE IN PRESS B.20g/lit 15g/lit Conc.3 0. SEM micrograph of machined micro hole with vibrating microtool frequency of 23 kHz. which results in more controlled dissolution. hence it is difﬁcult to remove the micro-sludge and precipitates from the very narrow machining zone completely during machining.25 Overcut (mm) 0. In this case the time period of micro-tool vibration is much more less. 200 Hz. Bhattacharyya et al. The selected frequencies at which experiments were carried out are 50. Effects of micro-sparks and uneven material removal are observed clearly from the SEM micrograph.144 mm/min Electrolyte---. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency of Hz range on machining performance It was seen that kHz range micro-tool vibration frequency had no signiﬁcant effect on MRR and overcut. 8 and 9. SEM micrograph of machined micro-hole with vibrating microtool frequency of 13 kHz. electrolyte cannot be circulated properly in the narrow machining zone to ﬂush away the sludge and gas bubbles from the end gap.5 VRMS than the amplitude of 8 V-RMS. Fig. Fig.15g/lit 20g/lit 23 Fig.NaNO3 Conc. Two different amplitudes of tool vibration frequencies were selected for the experiments. The generation of microsparks due to presence of sludge in the end gap produces uneven material removal over the periphery of machined micro-hole. Better ﬂushing effect cannot be achieved with tool vibration in the range of kHz. Fig. Maintaining proper tool feed and sludge removal also helps to reduce overcut. 4 and 5. which clearly reveals the fact that micro-tool vibration at these kHz ranges has no signiﬁcant effect on the machining accuracy. From the graph.15 0. So next sets of experiments were conducted with Hz range frequency of micro-tool vibration. Fig. 150 and Fig. The SEM micrograph shows the shallow portion around the machined micro-hole caused due to uncontrolled material removal for the effect of stray current. with 20 g/l electrolyte concentration are shown in Figs. the present set of experiments with tool vibration in the Hz range produce higher MRR and lower overcut. Fig. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 335–342 0.05 0 3 8 13 Frequency (KHz) 18 339 Voltage --. i.5 and 8 V-RMS on over-cut phenomena. As compared to the experimental results with kHz range of tool vibration as shown in Figs. the machining zone and in turn reduces the overcut. From the ﬁgure. 5. 4. it is observed that the trends of overcut for both the electrolyte concentrations are more or less horizontal. 8 indicates that the values of MRR are almost same in both the amplitudes of tool vibration. The comparisons between MRR and overcut in these two values of amplitudes.
3V Feed Rate—0.5 0. With increasing micro-tool . 11. more ions associated with machining in turn increase current density. in the machining rate and accuracy is due to the micro-tool vibration.5 B. 0. sludge removal from the narrow machining zone is also easier due to the generation of pressure waves. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency on material removal at different amplitudes.1 0. Fig. Hence. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency on over-cut.3V Amplitude----4. Fig. except at 100 Hz for all electrolyte concentrations. The result is due to that the higher amplitude value of the tool vibration causes a greater stray current during the microtool motion and leads to increase the material removal from the sides of the micro-hole. At higher concentration. The chances of stray machining due to stray current are also more in higher electrolyte concentrations.16 0. 0. The ﬁgure shows higher electrolyte concentration causes higher overcut. 10 exhibits the effect of micro-tool vibration frequency on MRR at a particular machining condition.12 Voltage --. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency on over-cut at different amplitudes.5 V-RMS.5 1 1 Conc.02 0 200 250 0.04 0.144 mm/min Electrolyte---. 4. which creates pressure waves in the electrolyte and promotes better circulation of electrolyte and removal of sludge and precipitates from the narrow zone of micromachining. Inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration frequency on material removal rate. 20g/lit 0 50 100 150 Frequency(Hz) 200 Conc.04 0.06 0.08 0.NaNO3 Conc.06 0. At higher concentrations. the next sets of experiments have been carried out with tool vibration amplitude of 4.1 0. 3 V machining voltage. The graph shows higher MRR at higher electrolyte concentration. which improves machining efﬁciency.3V Feed Rate—0. 55 Hz frequency of power supply.5 V-RMS Electrolyte--NaNO3 Amplitude 4.5 V-RMS Electrolyte---. i. 20g/lit Conc. which causes higher MRR. Bhattacharyya et al. 25g/lit Overcut (mm) Voltage --.08 0.NaNO3 0 50 100 150 Amplitude 8 V-RMS Amplitude 4. ions associated in the machining process are more and may not be concentrated properly and sometimes formation of passive layers on the machining zone also turns aside the actual material removal area. 10. 11 shows the overcut phenomenon for different micro-tool vibration frequencies under the same machining condition as set in the previous set of experiments. 8. From ﬁgure. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 335–342 2.5 Voltage --3V Amplitude---4.5 Voltage --. 9. Fig.e. Fig.14 0. it is observed that MRR is increasing linearly with micro-tool vibration frequency.144 ‘mm/min feed rate and pulse on–off ratio of 2:1.02 0 50 100 150 200 Frequency(Hz) Frequency (Hz) Fig. With higher micro-tool vibration frequency in Hz range.5 V-RMS Overcut ( mm) 0.5 V-RMS vibration amplitude. The experimental results indicate that the micro-tool vibration in the Hz range improves machining accuracy.5 V-RMS Amplitude 8 V-RMS 2 2 MRR (mg/min) MRR(mg/min) 1. 15g/lit Conc. The graph also indicates the signiﬁcant effect of the lower amplitude value of tool vibration on the overcut. 15g/lit Conc.12 0.NaNO3 50 100 150 200 0 Frequency (Hz) Fig.144 mm/min Electrolyte---.14 0.ARTICLE IN PRESS 340 2. 25g/lit 0.5 1.
electrolyte concentration: 20 g/l). Compared to normal EMM operation without tool vibration. Fig. Annuals of the CIRP 49 (2) (2000) 473–487. which improves the ﬂow direction of current ﬂux results in higher and controlled MRR that leads to better accuracy. it can be concluded that there is no signiﬁcant effect of high frequency i. but the increase of MRR reduces the accuracy of the product. vibration frequency. The micro-burrs are observed on the periphery of the micro-hole that is due to comparatively lower micro-tool vibration frequency. Hence. the micro-hole produced with this parametric combination is circular. considering the different vibrating frequencies. 12. 13. Science 289 (2000) 98–101. A few stray current-affected areas around the micro-hole have been observed. as electrolyte is normally kept stagnant.e. The SEM micrographs of micro-hole (vibrating frequency: 150 Hz and electrolyte concentration: 25 g/l). Allongue. Conclusions The present research consists of experimental investigation on the EMM with vibrating micro-tool and analysis of the acquired data to study the inﬂuence of micro-tool vibration on EMM criteria such as MRR and over-cut phenomena. better accuracy can be achieved with higher amount of material removal. it is evident that MRR and accuracy are better during EMM operation with micro-tool vibration. G. P. Kirchner. it is clear from the present investigation into EMM that the introduction of the micro-tool vibration during the EMM process provides a new and improved method for EMM. Ertl. From the experimental results. lowest overcut with optimized MRR can be achieved. Schuster. The SEM micrograph of machined hole (vibrating frequency: 100 Hz. From Figs. The inﬂuence of stray current effect on machining accuracy also highlights the need for proper insulation of micro-tool and selection of suitable parametric combination. 10 and 11. except at 100 Hz. 12 shows the SEM micrograph of the micro-hole machined at a micro-tool vibration frequency of 100 Hz and 20 g/l electrolyte concentration. which is essential to achieve higher machining accuracy and better surface integrity of the micro-machined products. which results in improper removal of passive layer and sludge. References  T. It generates small pressure waves in the machining zone that destroy the passive layer from the copper test-piece surface. This also permits the use of high current densities in order to improve the quality of the machined micro-products. Fig. MRR increases with the increase of electrolyte concentration. Electrochemical micromachining. Electrolyte concentration has a signiﬁcant effect on MRR and accuracy. which are due to the presence of more ions associated during machining. State of the art of micromachining. / International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture 47 (2007) 335–342 341 6. Bhattacharyya et al.ARTICLE IN PRESS B. The micro-machining capability of EMM with the developed micro-tool vibration system is examined through experimentations. it can be concluded that around 15–20 g/l electrolyte concentration and 150–200 Hz microtool vibration frequency. Masuzawa. machined products could not be ﬂushed away from the narrow machining gap. V. The detailed analysis of SEM micrographs of the machined micro-holes establishes the optimal setting of micro-tool vibration frequency and electrolyte concentration. . Moreover. Reducing the electrolyte concentration can reduce the stray current-affected area. It is observed from the analysis of the test results that around 150–200 Hz range of micro-tool vibration frequency and 15–20 g/l range of electrolyte concentration. In normal EMM operation. 13 shows the SEM micrographs of the microhole machined at 150 Hz vibrating frequency and 25 g/l electrolyte concentration. Fig. Fig.  R. 3 to 23 kHz range of micro-tool vibration on MRR and over-cut in EMM and it is clear that low-frequency vibration signiﬁcantly increases the MRR and accuracy during micro-machining operation of copper test pieces. over-cut diminishes.
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