Micro Electrical Machining (μ-EM) has been regarded as a key technology for micro-machining because of the high precision and good surface quality that it can achieve. This paper presents the development of a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) system dedicated for μ-EM. RTAI which is a hard real-time operating system based on Linux is applied to meet the requirements of the μ-EM CNC. RTAI offers high performance compared with commercial real-time operating systems. To deal with the difficulties in micro electrodes online fabrication and compensation, an on-line measurement subsystem which has a resolution of 1.61 μm and an overall magnification ranges from 113 to 729 is integrated into the CNC system. The contour of micro electrodes can be extracted by means of the Canny edge detection algorithm. The micro electrodes’ dimension can be measured on-line manually or automatically. Machining verifications demonstrate that a μ-EM machine equipped with the RTAI based CNC system has a good potential of manufacturing not only micro-holes and micro-shafts but also complex 3D micro structures and parts.

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