In this chapter, we discuss the important new class of machine tools, the micro/meso-scale machine tool or mMT, which is now addressing the exploding marketplace for miniature components with high relative accuracy requirements, true 3D features, and made in a wide range of engineering materials. These mMTs fill the gap created by the inability of the common MEMS processes to meet the aforementioned needs. In particular, we review a number of research efforts of the late 1990s and early 2000s that have been directed toward the development of the mMT and microfactory paradigms. We then provide in-depth discussions of efforts by Northwestern University (3-axis mMT) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (5-axis mMT), introducing both the design principles used and technologies adopted in creating prototype mMTs. A machine tool calibration methodology specifically developed for mMTs is then presented. Finally, we will discuss recent efforts in Japan, Europe and the US to commercialise the mMT paradigm.
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