Tooling – How Small Can You Go?

SME Micro Manufacturing Conference April 2013
June 15, 2018
Micro Manufacturing Product Lifecycle
June 15, 2018

Tooling – How Small Can You Go?

3/19/13   How small can you go with tooling when it comes to micro tooling? When thinking about the design of a tool you need to ask yourself “What does the tool have to look like in order to make the part?”

In micro machining we can make an End Mill as small as 0.0001”! It is extremely challenging to see these features with the naked eye and be able to machine micro parts with these very tiny end mills. These tiny end mills can break, just like any other end mill, so there is a process developed to resist breaking the end mills using certain materials. Once we get the process to work on certain materials for 0.001”, we push the process to decrease the size without breakage. Over the past few years we have been able to develop the methods to machine extremely small features.

Ejector pins as small as 0.004” – uses a polymer to eject off of the mold itself to be as small as a hair-size. This is a moving part, pushing a part out every 10 seconds, so they do tend to wear. We have been able to make this size last 3.5 years before they break.
Cavities as small as 0.007”
Core pins as small as 0.0029”
Gates as small as 0.002” – a gate is where the polymer would enter through the mold
Wall thicknesses as thin as 0.0015”

PEEK (polyetheretherketone) material is a very popular material for micro machining and also for implant use because it is a strong material and bio-compatible. To see examples of what we have machined using micro tools please visit our Micro Services Page.