Experimental Study of the Subsystems in a Microscale Additive Manufacturing Process
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High-throughput manufacturing of complex 3D architectures for microscale products such as microelectronics is limited by the resolution of existing additive manufacturing processes. This paper presents experimental testing and validation of the major subsystems in a microscale selective laser sintering (µ-SLS) process that is capable of fabricating true-3D metallic micro-architectures with microscale feature size resolutions. In µ-SLS, the part quality and throughput of the sintering process are largely determined by the precision, accuracy, and speed of the subsystems including: (1) the optical subsystem, (2) the global positioning mechanism, (3) the XY nanopositioning stage, and (4) the powder bed dispensing system. This paper shows that each of these subsystems can maintain the sub-micrometer precision and accuracy required to produce metal parts with microscale resolutions. Preliminary sintering results with optimized process parameters show the potential of the µ-SLS process to fabricate complex metal parts with sub-10-μm resolution at high rates.
This study was funded by NXP Semiconductors and National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1728313).
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