The micro electrical discharge machining (micro-EDM) process has been proved to be appropriate for making 3D micro parts that are difficult and even impossible to manufacture by other processes. In this paper a high precision tabletop CNC wire electrical discharge machine (wire-EDM) designed specifically for machining complex shaped micro parts or structures is developed. In the machine developed, a novel micro wire-cutting mechanism is designed, an approach to control wire tension by magnetic force is proposed and a servo feed control strategy, in accordance with the measured gap voltage, is designed and implemented. To verify the functions and capabilities of the machine developed, several thick micro outer and internal spur gears and a rack are machined. It shows that the taper angle along the wall or cavity of a part that appears when other micro-EDM processes are applied can be avoided. A very good dimensional accuracy of 1 μm and a surface finish of Rmax equal to 0.64 μm are achieved. The satisfactory cutting of a miniature 3D pagoda with a micro-hooked structure also reveals that the machine developed is versatile, and can be used as a new tool for making intricate micro parts.
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