This paper describes the concept of a “microfactory” and design basics of its components. The microfactory is a super-miniature manufacturing system consists of miniature machine tools and manipulators. The authors proposed the concept and prototyped the first performable microfactory later in 1999. The former part of the paper introduces the basic concept and effort to systemize the factory. The concept was first proposed in 1990 and was expected to reduce energy consumption and space occupation of small parts fabrication. In 1996, the “micro-lathe” was developed and showed an unexpectedly good machining capability. The success of the micro-lathe was the driving force to systemize the rest of the microfactory. The newly prototyped microfactory was able to machine several small parts and assemble them into a miniature ball bearing to show its capability. The latter half of the paper describes design concepts, theories and tools that were used in designing the each component of the microfactory.

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