Nanofabrication technology is very important for many emerging engineering and scientific applications. Among different nanofabrication technologies, vibration-assisted nano-machining provides a low cost easy-to-setup approach to produce structures with nano-scale resolution. It is critical to understand the mechanism for the nano-machining process and predict the cutting force, so as to provide guidelines to achieve higher productivity and reduce tip wear. In this article, a machining force model for tip-based nano-machining process is developed and validated. We analyze the instantaneous engagement area between cutting tool (AFM tip) and workpiece (PMMA film) at the given tip position for the vibration-assisted nano-machining process. A discrete voxel method is adopted to calculate the material removal rate at each moment, and an empirical machining force model is developed by correlating the cutting force with material removal rate. The model was verified by experiments over a large range of machining conditions, and the coefficients and parameters in the force model was obtained using Mean Square Error (MSE) method by comparing the predicted machining force from the force model and measured machining force from experiments. The results show good fit between predicted machining force and measured machining force.

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