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The Advantages of Using 3D Printing to Manufacture Test Fixtures for Evaluating MEMS Devices
Keywords: Isolator, Fixture, Printing
The purpose of this study will be to discuss the potential benefits of 3D printed components when used in MEMS testing applications. The serving example for this study will be a critical component that is used in a transmissibility test of a mechanical isolator when subjected to a range of frequencies. The critical component is called a fixture. The fixture is the interface between the isolator and the shaker. The fixture is what allows the shaker to transmit mechanical vibrations to the isolator. It will also serve as a reference point for the laser vibrometer that will be a used in the test. Additional details as well as images of the testing environment will be included in the final paper. To illustrate the benefits of a printed component, it will be compared to a machined fabricated component. The machined fabricated component is block of milled Plexiglas that serves the same role. The machined fixture will serve as the control. Details on why machined fabricated components are used in the testing environment will be included in the report. The comparison will be based on how consistent the component will fix the isolator to the shaker. The response of the isolator when subjected to a range of frequencies is highly dependent on a number of factors. How well the fixture transfers the shaker’s mechanical vibrations to the isolator is one of those factors. The test will begin with the machined fabricated component serving as the fixture. A sweep across a range of frequencies will be initiated and a sample of the isolator’s response will be collected. This process will be repeated 500 times and averaged to make a set. Five sets of 500 samples will be collected. Once the five sets are collected, the test will pause and the isolator will be removed from the fixture and placed back into the fixture at a different orientation. In theory, both the isolator and the fixture have symmetrical geometry such that rotating the isolator should not affect the frequency response. Once the isolator is placed back into the fixture, five more sets will be collected. The test will collect five sets of test data from four isolator orientations. After performing the test with the machined fabricated fixture, an identical test will be executed using a printed fixture. After completing the test with both fixtures, the data will be presented and direct comparison between the fixtures can be made. Most data will be presented on a magnitude vs frequency graph. Explanation behind this type of graph will be included in the final paper. After presenting the collected data, other comparisons between fixtures will be discussed. Comparisons include the cost of manufacture, ease of use, and speed of design and development. Data will be included with these comparisons. Once all comparisons are discussed, final conclusions will be made. Final conclusions will state how printed components are better than machined components in this test and how additive manufacturing can become a critical asset in future MEMS testing and development.
Arthur Bond,
Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama
United States

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