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A Laser Micromachining D.O.E. To Investigate Material Removal Volumes

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Micromachining in Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.41.1 - 14.41.11

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Paper Authors


Wesley Stone Western Carolina University

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Dr. Wes Stone is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering and Technology Department at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas, Penn State, and Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively. His interests include Six Sigma quality, manufacturing, coordinate measuring machines, and laser micro-machining.

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John Graham Western Carolina University

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John D. Graham is an applications engineer in the Kimmel School at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. He earned his BS in Electronics Engineering Technology and his MS in Technology at Western Carolina University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Laser Micro-Machining DOE to Investigate Material Removal Volumes


This paper presents the results and lessons learned from a design of experiments (DOE), developed to better understand the factors that affect volume of material removed (MRR) during a laser micro-machining process. The Oxford Laser micro-machining center was brought into the Engineering & Technology Department’s laboratory to be used for precision part marking and laser machining on the micron-level. The laser has a 0.1- m precision in the x-y plane— about 0.2% of a human hair diameter. It has 5-axis CNC (computer numerical control) capabilities with dual wavelength capability—a 266-nm laser and a 532-nm laser—and can machine via the CNC axes or the high-speed galvanometers. These high-end capabilities, coupled with many other “bells and whistles” make this laser machining center highly versatile. In this research, a four-factor full-factorial DOE was performed to gain a fundamental understanding of the input parameters necessary to micro-machine 301 stainless steel. The four factors investigated in this research were power, frequency, hatch spacing, and feed rate; the output variable was volume of material removed. While frequency, closely followed by power proved to have the greatest effect on the output, none of the main effects or interactions proved to be statistically significant. The DOE results from this research were used as examples in a new senior-level quality course, which introduces DOE as a subject to senior Engineering Technology students. The real life DOE results provide a powerful classroom advantage to the typical textbook data, in that students see the real-life application more readily. The next step in this research is to refine this particular DOE and transition into regression analysis, where a mathematical model can be generated to predict (and control) the volume of material removed.


Western Carolina University (WCU) is a comprehensive state university situated in the mountains of western North Carolina - with approximately 9,000 graduate and undergraduate students. WCU serves a region that continues to employ heavily in the manufacturing sector, which ranks number one with 19.3% of all jobs in the western portion of the state1, which is why the Engineering Technology (ET) program continues to prepare its graduates through both its on- campus and distance education degree programs. The ET program exposes its students to a multitude of industry-related courses, including CAD/CAM, polymers, rapid prototyping, fluid power, numerical methods, occupational health and safety, automation, and quality. The adoption of Six Sigma techniques in the past decade has placed a high priority on quality in the workplace, and accordingly in the classroom2.

The Engineering Technology curriculum recently added a senior-level undergraduate quality course (Advanced Quality Systems) to follow the junior-level Quality Systems course. A more in-depth quality course, Quality Assurance, is available to the graduate students at WCU. The addition of the senior-level quality course has given undergraduate ET students the chance to dig

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