Micropencil grinding tools (MPGTs) are micromachining tools that use superabrasives like diamond and cubic boron nitride (cBN) grits to manufacture complex microstructures in a broad range of hard and brittle materials. MPGTs suffer from a rather low tool life, when compared to other more established microprocessing methods. It was documented that when used on hardened steel workpieces, MPGTs suffer from a large amount of adhesions, mostly located at the pivot point of the tool. These adhesions lead to the clogging of the abrasive layer and ultimately in tool failure. Another problem this machining process suffers from is the formation of substructures (smaller channels inside the microchannels). The pivot is usually less prone to abrasive wear, has higher protrusion, and is therefore responsible for the deepest substructures. These substructures can easily take up half the depth of cut, obstructing the function of machined microchannels—it is one of the major flaws of this micromachining process. A micro-electrical discharge machining method (μEDM) can solve these issues by manufacturing a cavity at the pivot of these tools. A novel method that uses measurement probes to position the substrate above the μEDM electrode is implemented and a parameter study to determine the cavity manufacturing parameters is conducted for substrates with diameters < 40 μm. The goal is to demonstrate the first ever complete and reliable manufacturing process for MPGTs with a cavity and to demonstrate the advantages they provide in a machining process when compared to regular MPGTs.

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