This paper develops a three-axis micro milling machine for manufacturing meso-scale components and products. This machine utilizes high-speed miniature spindle to obtain appropriate cutting velocities, and three precision linear stages with 50 nm feed resolution to supply the relative motion. The PMAC2 controller is used to control three axes simultaneously, and a piezoelectric dynamometer is mounted on the X-Y stages to measure three-dimensional cutting forces for the real-time measurement and feedback. More than 200 cutting experiments of end milling operations are performed on the developed machine. When the machined feature ranges at meso scale, the characteristics and phenomena in milling process will heavily differ from those of conventional scale milling due to the size effects. The critical differences at meso scale arise from the breakdown of the assumptions of negligible edge radius effects. The roundness of cutting edge and the runout of spindle have a crucial impact on the chip formation process and the characteristics of cutting forces. The roundness of cutting edge also induces the existence of the minimum chip thickness and the intermittency of the chip formation at a low feed per tooth.

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