Modern Machine Shop

DEC 2016

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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34 MMS December 2016 mmsonline.com RAPID TRAVERSE Machining Technology in Brief The conical micro-holes drilled through the display are tapered with diameters of less than 50 microns on the user-facing side, so that they are only visible when illuminated. Potomac Laser, call 301-459-3031 or visit potomac-laser.com. The top image shows a portion of the control panel from the user's side, where the micro-holes are invisible to the human eye. The bottom is a cross-section showing the micro-hole pattern. laser is converted to heat, which vaporizes or melts the material. With this technology, the shop can rapidly drill very small holes spaced 50 microns apart or closer in metals less than 0.003 inch thick. In one recent application, Potomac Laser machined conical micro-holes (see image above) in control panels that would enable "invisible" backlighting. The limit of resolu- tion for the adult eye is about 0.1 mm at 1 meter from the eye; therefore, using hole diameters on the user-facing side smaller than 50 microns meant that the hole pat- terns would be invisible to the viewer when the backlighting is turned off (see the top image to the right). When the light source is on, however, the display can show clear, sharp patterns using these micro-holes. The result is an unobtrusive control panel that displays needed information when relevant, but does not distract the viewer when it is not in use. Front side (user side) Backlight source Microholes

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