We present a novel fabrication technique of a miniaturized out-of-plane compliant bistable mechanism (OBM) by microinjection molding (MM) and assembling. OBMs are mostly in-plane monolithic devices containing delicate elastic elements fabricated in metal, plastic, or by a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) process. The proposed technique is based on stacking two out-of-plane V-beam structures obtained by mold fabrication and MM of thermoplastic polyacetal resin (POM) and joining their centers and outer frames to construct a double V-beam structure. A copper alloy mold insert was machined with the sectional dimensions of the V-beam cavities. Next, the insert was re-machined to reduce dimensional errors caused by part shrinkage. The V-beam structure was injection-molded at a high temperature. Gradually elongated short-shots were obtained by increasing pressure, showing the symmetrical melt filling through the V-beam cavities. The as-molded structure was buckled elastically by an external-force load but showed a monostable behavior because of a higher unconstrained buckling mode. The double V-beam device assembled with two single-molded structures shows clear bistability. The experimental force-displacement curve of the molded structure is presented for examination. This work can potentially contribute to the fabrication of architected materials with periodic assembly of the plastic bistable mechanism for diverse functionalities, such as energy absorption and shape morphing.
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