Advances in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (Nov 2021)

Glass precision micro-cutting using spark assisted chemical engraving

  • Lucas Abia Hof,
  • Rolf Wuthrich

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3
p. 100056


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Manufacturing industry faces new challenges with the emergence of the need for the production of small batches of personalized parts. Such production methods demand for a capability to integrate multiple machining operations in one manufacturing process to reduce setup and calibration time and tooling costs. This requirement is especially challenging for difficult-to-machine materials such as glass, since there exist only a limited number of glass machining technologies and further these technologies often require specialized tooling. Glass cutting is among the crucial machining operations, which is frequently required for glass products.The presented study discusses free-form micro-cutting by Spark Assisted Chemical Engraving (SACE), determining cut parameters, in terms of tool feed-rate F and depth-of-cut p in function of machining voltage. A simple model is discussed allowing to predict the maximal product F⋅p which can be used to cut glass by SACE. The presented data and model allow to reduce the time-consuming trial and error process in determining appropriate cutting parameters. An interesting finding is that lowest cutting times can be achieved with tools of 100-μm diameter. Cut surface roughness of initial cuts can be reduced by deploying subsequently incremental finishing (polishing) passes performed at lower machining voltage, lower tool feed rates and higher angular tool rotation. It is demonstrated that very smooth cut surfaces (Rz ~ 1 μm) can be achieved.