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

  • 5 Citations

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.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages241-247
Number of pages7
JournalLab on a Chip - Miniaturisation for Chemistry and Biology
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Profile

Lab-On-A-Chip Devices
Molds
Microfluidics
Plastics
Fungi
Metals
Microchannels
Microtechnology
Surface Properties
Microfabrication
Stainless Steel
Polymethyl Methacrylate
Silicon
Polymethyl methacrylates
Powders
Thermoplastics
Materials properties
Stainless steel
Throughput
Costs and Cost Analysis

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

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