SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: Alexander Shih
TIME: Monday, February 24, 2014, 3:00 p.m.
PLACE: MARC Building, 431
TITLE: Magnetic Levitation and Rotation for the Feasibility of Free-form Machining
COMMITTEE: Dr. Steven Y. Liang, Chair (ME)
Dr. Shreyes N. Melkote (ME)
Dr. Meisam Salahshoor (ME)


The geometry constraints of the machine tool limits the part features such as curved holes or interior surfaces in today’s machining technologies. The purpose of this research is to design and construct a new transformative manufacturing process using magnetic fields to levitate and rotate an object (tool) in the purpose of testing machining feasibility. This research concept is based on levitation and rotation of a single abrasive particle with no support other than the magnetic field. To support the design of such a device, this thesis propose a combined experimental and physics based simulations. First, a magnetic field generator base loaded with a constant power will impose a vertical physical force to balance gravity and stabilize the cutting object. Then two pairs of pairwise orthogonal Helmholtz coils were used in a horizontal configuration to generate the rotating magnetic field (RMF) that drives the cutting tool rotation. In addition to this, a dispositive permitting to rotate the levitron was integrated to the device in order to achieve higher tool rotation speed. Physical based finite element simulations based on Biot-Savart law were conducted to explore the magnetic field and helped to simulate the magnetic field and position the cutting tool. A smooth and controlled cut was achieved on a soft material. This shows the feasibility of the device to achieve similar results as a machine tool.