Chase Omana, University of Utah
The purpose of my project is to assess submillimeter rapid fabrication techniques used in the field of microfluidics. Rapid fabrication is important because the current methods used are very time consuming, slowing down medical and scientific findings. The three major methods we used in creating our devices were the laser cutter, the knife plotter, and the 3D printer. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method used. Generally, the laser cutter is good for industrial manufacturing applications, and is known for leaving an edge with a high quality surface edge. But when we used it for cutting certain materials, the edges were melted and not very clean, creating problems in the devices. The knife plotter is used for cutting out specific crafts and is known for leaving uniform material. However, there have been some complaints about inconsistencies when attempting to cut submillimeter sized shapes. The 3D printer creates a three-dimensional object by adding materials one layer at a time. But when trying to develop submillimeter sized devices, the edges of the channel were very rough and inconsistent. From our research, we were successful in characterizing different fabrication techniques. This is important because it provides a framework for future decisions made for those students attending Utah Conference of Undergraduate Researchin the State of Utah Center of Excellence for Biomedical Microfluidics, as well as all those in the field of microfluidics.