MicroManufacturing ConferenceMarch 16, 2009
Standard machining and injection molding techniques are not adequate for manufacturing parts so small that they are barely visible to the naked eye. An entire industry has formed around the requirements to create very small, very precise parts.
Recent work in microfluidics has focused on new rapid prototyping and manufacturing techniques on the micro-scale. While plenty of techniques exist for fabricating small-channels within multi-layered glass, such as etching or even laser drilling, the material and process costs are high, so I’ve been on the lookout for plastic and alternative materials more suitable for high-quantity production.
In just two weeks, I’m headed to Minneapolis to attend the 2009 MicroManufacturing Conference sponsored by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Although I’m not a manufacturing engineer, I have found that it’s extremely difficult and expensive to design good parts without a detailed understanding of the manufacturing methods. By attending, I’m hoping to talk to vendors and learn more about the state of current technology than I can learn with online searches. If you’re going to be at the conference, or just in Minneapolis, feel free to stop me and say hi or even touch base ahead of time to arrange a meeting. I’m looking forward to an interesting few days.