Micro machining glass with polycrystalline diamond tools shaped by micro electro discharge machining
Brittle materials are difficult to mechanically micro machine due to damage resulting from material removal by brittle fracture, cutting force-induced tool deflection or breakage and tool wear. This paper demonstrates the feasibility of micro machining glass materials with polycrystalline diamond (PCD) micro tools that are prepared in a variety of shapes using non-contact micro electro discharge machining. The PCD tools contain randomly distributed sharp protrusions of diamond with dimensions around 1 µm that serve as cutting edges for micro machining grooves in soda-lime glass and pockets in ultra-low expansion glass. Results indicate that smooth surfaces are obtained with process conditions allowing material removal by ductile regime cutting instead of brittle fractures, and the PCD tools show very little wear. With further improvements in material removal rate, micro machining with PCD tools is a promising approach for producing micro molds and micro fluidic devices in glass materials.