Fabrication of Embedded Horizontal Micro-Channels Using Line-Scan Stereolithogrpahy

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Choi, Jae-Won
Quintana, Rolando
Wicker, Ryan B.

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University of Texas at Austin


In an effort to directly and rapidly manufacture micro-fluidic devices with embedded horizontal micro-channels on the order of tens of microns, a method was developed for using current commercially available line-scan stereolithography (SL) technology. The method consisted of inserting a wire of specified diameter during the build, building around the inserted wire, and removing the wire once fabricated leaving a channel with a circular cross-sectional geometry equivalent to the wire diameter. Demonstration of the technique using 31.6 µm, 57.2 µm and 83.5 µm wire was performed using a 3D Systems Viper si2TM SL system and DSM Somos® WaterShedTM resin. By embedding the wire and building around the insert, the down-facing surfaces were supported during fabrication enabling successful and accurate fabrication of embedded micro-channel geometries. A method for successful fabrication was developed that involved first building an open micro-channel, interrupting the SL process and inserting the wire, and then capping over the wire with multiple layers. After fabricating a part with a micro-wire, the micro-channel was produced by simply pulling the wire out of the part. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images were used to examine and measure the geometries of the fabricated micro-channels, and a statistical design of experiments was performed to show that the process was capable of producing accurate horizontal micro-channels. It is expected that this process will enable unique micro-fluidic and other applications of micro-channel fabrication to be pursued using commercial line-scan SL.


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