A microfactory is a system that can perform manufacturing processes within a very limited space such as a desktop. However, design optimization of miniature machine tools in microfactories have not been studied enough. Since the miniature machine tool designs are not supported by existing design experience as normal machine tools are, design guidelines for miniature machine tool are strongly demanded. And a design tool to analyze machine performance without prototyping will be also necessary because the miniature machines have wider design choices than normal machine tools have, based on its small size and less constraints. This paper focuses on a robust design tool combining form-shaping theory with the Taguchi method, to roughly estimate performance of miniature machine tools at its conceptual design stages. The effort not only identifies critical design parameters that have significant influence on the machining tolerance, but also determines which structure has the best theoretical performance. The paper tells that the proposing design evaluation method can help machine tool designers in determining the optimum structure of a miniature machine tool. The study also realizes two designs of miniature mills to measure positioning errors. The measurement ensures the design evaluation method can predict the machine performance well enough for usage in conceptual design stages. The paper concludes that the design evaluation method is applicable to a systematic miniaturization of a machine tool.

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