Research Papers

Smooth Surface Fabrication Based on Controlled Meniscus and Cure Depth in Microstereolithography

[+] Author and Article Information
Yayue Pan

Department of Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering,
University of Illinois at Chicago,
Chicago, IL 60607

Yong Chen

Epstein Department of Industrial and
Systems Engineering,
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089
e-mail: yongchen@usc.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO- AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received October 8, 2014; final manuscript received May 8, 2015; published online June 18, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Liwei Lin.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 3(3), 031001 (Sep 01, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: JMNM-14-1068; doi: 10.1115/1.4030661 History: Received October 08, 2014; Revised May 08, 2015; Online June 18, 2015

In the layer-based additive manufacturing (AM) processes, a three-dimensional (3D) model is converted into a set of two-dimensional (2D) layers. Due to such conversion, one of the major problems in the layer-based AM processes is the poor surface finish associated with the layer-based stair-stepping effect. However, the surface finish is critical for various microscale applications such as micro-optics and microfluidics. The adoption of AM technologies as a means for fabricating end-use microcomponents and tooling has been limited by such poor surface finish. The aim of this research work is to apply the state-of-the-art meniscus approach and controlled cure depth planning in the mask image projection-based microstereolithography (MIP-μSL) process to address its surface finish challenge. Mathematical models of meniscus shapes and cure depths are developed for the MIP-μSL process. Related process parameters including the minimum meniscus points, sliced layer shapes for forming meniscus, grayscale image values, and Z offsetting values are optimized to achieve the minimum approximation errors between a built part and a given nominal geometric model. A set of test cases with various curved surfaces are designed to test the developed smooth surface fabrication method. The experimental results verify the effectiveness of the proposed methods for the MIP-μSL process.

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Fig. 1

Smooth surface fabrication in μSL: (a) an illustration of the bottom-up projection-based MIP-μSL; (b) a grayscale image approach for fabricating down-facing surfaces; and (c) a meniscus approach for fabricating up-facing surfaces

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Fig. 2

Residue meniscus modeling: (a) meniscus wetting to intersecting plane surfaces, (b) fluid interface profile, and (c)–(e) plotting results of the meniscus profiles in cases 2–5

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Fig. 3

The framework of the algorithm for generating the minimum meniscus points and the slices with the least dipping number and acceptable approximation error

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Fig. 4

An illustration of meniscus process optimization

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Fig. 5

An illustration of influence of new slice planning on formed meniscus shape

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Fig. 6

An illustration of influence of submeniscus points on the formed meniscus shape

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Fig. 7

Relation between the cure depth and the grayscale value: (a) experiments on Cd and g values and (b) relation of Cd and In(g) values

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Fig. 8

The grayscale image planning method and an image generation algorithm: (a) comparison between the traditional method and grayscale image method and (b) grayscale image generation algorithm

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Fig. 9

The developed MIP-SL testbed for fabricating smooth surfaces: (a) hardware setup and (b) software system

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Fig. 10

A test case of concave surface

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Fig. 11

A test case of a microlens using: SI-500 (left panel)—(a) CAD model, (b) physical model, (c) side view A1—part A, (d) top view A2—part A, (e) side view A1—part B, and (f) top view A2—part B; and E-Shell (right panel)—(a) CAD model, (b) side view—lens A, (c) top view—lens A, (d) side view—lens B, (e) top view—lens B, (f) paper for test, (g) view of paper under lens A, and (h) view of paper under lens B

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Fig. 12

Surface measurement results: (a) area A2 of parts in Fig. 10 and (b) parts A and B in Figs. 11(c) and 11(e) of the left panel

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Fig. 13

Down-facing surface fabrication using different methods

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Fig. 14

Built down-facing surfaces using different mask image planning methods



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