This paper discusses the applications and development of magnetic actuators for meso-scale mechanisms. Due to their small sizes, meso-scale parts cannot be actuated using techniques typical of macro-scale mechanisms, such as servos or ball screws. Similarly, the techniques used in micro-actuation, such as the use of electrostatic force in MEMS devices, cannot be easily scaled up to the meso-scale. As a result, the use of magnetic forces for actuating meso-scale mechanisms may be capable of filling this void of actuation methods.
A case study of a fixturing mechanism meant for meso-scale end-milling was analyzed. This mechanism uses two fixed-fixed beams in order to actively tune the harmonic modes of the machining operation in order to improve the stability of the cutting. It also uses magnetic forces to actuate the fixturing platform in order to provide close-loop feedback of cutting force.