3D printed metal molds for hot embossing plastic microfluidic devices

Tung Yi Lin, Truong Do, Patrick Kwon, Peter B. Lillehoj

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Plastics are one of the most commonly used materials for fabricating microfluidic devices. While various methods exist for fabricating plastic microdevices, hot embossing offers several unique advantages including high throughput, excellent compatibility with most thermoplastics and low start-up costs. However, hot embossing requires metal or silicon molds that are fabricated using CNC milling or microfabrication techniques which are time consuming, expensive and required skilled technicians. Here, we demonstrate for the first time the fabrication of plastic microchannels using 3D printed metal molds. Through optimization of the powder composition and processing parameters, we were able to generate stainless steel molds with superior material properties (density and surface finish) than previously reported 3D printed metal parts. Molds were used to fabricate poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) replicas which exhibited good feature integrity and replication quality. Microchannels fabricated using these replicas exhibited leak-free operation and comparable flow performance as those fabricated from CNC milled molds. The speed and simplicity of this approach can greatly facilitate the development (i.e. prototyping) and manufacture of plastic microfluidic devices for research and commercial applications.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)241-247
    Number of pages7
    JournalLab on a Chip - Miniaturisation for Chemistry and Biology
    Volume17
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2017

    Profile

    Microfluidic Analytical Techniques
    Plastics
    Fungi
    Metals
    Molds
    Orthostatic Hypotension
    Microfluidics
    Microchannels
    Chlorhexidine
    Microtechnology
    Surface Properties
    Stainless Steel
    Polymethyl Methacrylate
    Silicon
    Powders
    Costs and Cost Analysis
    Microfabrication
    Polymethyl methacrylates
    Thermoplastics
    Materials properties

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Bioengineering
    • Chemistry(all)
    • Biochemistry
    • Biomedical Engineering

    Cite this

    3D printed metal molds for hot embossing plastic microfluidic devices. / Lin, Tung Yi; Do, Truong; Kwon, Patrick; Lillehoj, Peter B.

    In: Lab on a Chip - Miniaturisation for Chemistry and Biology, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2017, p. 241-247.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Lin, Tung Yi; Do, Truong; Kwon, Patrick; Lillehoj, Peter B. / 3D printed metal molds for hot embossing plastic microfluidic devices.

    In: Lab on a Chip - Miniaturisation for Chemistry and Biology, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2017, p. 241-247.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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