An Introduction to Small Hole Drilling
An Introduction into Small Hole Drilling
Small Hole Drilling or Micro Drilling is a precise process that requires very detailed workmanship with pinpoint precision and accuracy. Interest in and use of microholes spans many industries, including medical device, biotech, electronics, and alternative energy companies.
Small hole drilling can be done in almost any type of material or surface, including polymer films and tubes, metal sheets and tubes, ceramic, silicon wafers, and PCB. Even hard or brittle materials such as glass and diamonds can be successfully micro drilled.
The process of micro hole drilling is very useful for creating small and complex shapes that would otherwise be difficult to produce with conventional drilling tools and methods.
Because of the precise nature of micro hole drilling, it is critically important to consider several parameters when planning a drilling project. First, the appropriate material must be selected. That means that the material must meet the needs of the application, but should also be matched to the drilling process for the best results. Once the material is selected, a thickness must be agreed upon. Typically, the thinner the material, the better and more controlled the results tend to be, and the cheaper the process. Beyond that, it is important to determine the geometries to be drilled, desired edge quality, effects of hole taper, shape of the hole, and the center-to-center pitch. Projects involving small hole drilling often have very exacting parameters.
Just a few examples of the vast usefulness of small hole drilling in various industries are:
- Inkjet printer nozzles: Small hole drilling helps fabricate high-quality inkjet nozzle plates that meet the requirements for inkjet and fluid-dispensing applications.
- Fuel cells and fuel injection components.
- Probe cards as well as other products in semiconductor industries.
- Leak test holes that can help calibrate leakage detection devices. Hole sizes can be as small as 1 micron.
- Pinholes for photographic applications such as apertures.
- Pinholes and slits for scientific instrumentation.
- Calibrated flow holes.
- High resolution circuitry.
- Fiber optic interconnects.
- Surface micro machined accelerators.
- In the aerospace industry, micro hole drilling can be used to drill rows of holes into the leading and trailing edges of turbine blades used in jet engines or to make pressure holes in airplane windows.
- Medical devices such as inhaler products, nebulizers, drug delivery systems, as well as micro drilling of catheter tubes, micro needles, micro-probes in biotechnology applications and more.
Small hole drilling or micro drilling on micro-machined components are also crucial for practical advancement in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). All of these processes require accuracy and precision that no other tools or methods can produce. There is no single technology that acts as a one size fits all approach to small hole drilling. Research and pushing the boundaries of the technology will continue to produce improvements in process and production.
About Potomac Photonics
Potomac Photonics, a leader in micro fabrication and small hole drilling, has an extensive history of helping its clients develop miniature products and bring them to market. Utilizing cutting-edge manufacturing technology, Potomac has been recognized by both commercial and government agencies for innovative contributions to area such as medical device manufacturing, biotech and electronics fabrication. Potomac’s high-tech facility, located in Lanham, MD is ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 certified. Visit http://www.potomac-laser.com