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Solveering™ Prototyping Services

In addition to handling almost every aspect of the design side, we offer a limited set of prototyping services. These are mainly tailored towards providing tangible parts from client specified designs but can also be offered on an individual basis for those seeking specific prototyping needs.

Areas of Prototyping

  • Mechanical Parts & Assemblies
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Electronics & Integrated Systems

CNC Milling

CNC Milling Machine Alibre CAM Design

Most prototyping is done on a small 4 axis CNC Milling machine (Sieg KX1) that we use to machine a number of plastic and metal parts (up to and including tool steel and stainless steels). The CAM files are programmed inVisualCam and exported to Mach 3 or manually input for simple programs. We can machine most shapes that can be made on a 3 Axis machine including threads (using taps and solid mills) and contoured shapes. Multi-sided machining is possible provided that there is sufficient space to mount the part, though one sided machining is the preferred and cheapest option. The work envelope on this machine measures 10x6x7 inches though parts to be machined should ideally be smaller to allow for rigid clamping. Larger parts can be machine provided that it is possible to fix them correctly.
Parts that exceed our capability can be locally outsourced to vendors we have dealt with on past projects for both prototyping and mass production where we supply the CAM input and rely solely on their manufacturing overhead for producing the parts. Contact us for deails.

Laser Cutting

Small plastic or similar parts that only require a profile can be more economically cut using a laser to burn through the material along a predefined path. The maximum size we can cut in-house is 12.5x8.5 inches with a depth of around 1/4" for most plastics (some thicker materials can be cut, this depends on the required finish and the material). The ideal plastic to engrave and cut with this machine is Cast Acrylic, either transparent or colored. Metals cannot be cut on this machine though circuit boards can be etched by first ablating a surface coating and then immersing the board in acid. Prototyping on this machine is best suited to produce plastic brackets, plates (with or without text/images engraved) or custom gaskets. Larger parts can be custom cut by a local company that we interface with. The machine we use is a stock K40 with a large number of modifications that improve on the control systems (allowing variable power levels during the cut), better software to define the process as well as a camera for layout/overlay. Beyond the IR Laser capabilities, this machine has also been fitted with a second, UV-Blue laser that is capable of directly engraving steels (though no cutting or similar).
For details and information about capabilities on this machine as well as small production runs, please contact us.

Laser Cutter Laser Cut Colored Acrylic

3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing

replicator 2 SLA Printed Part duplicator 7 Urethane Cast Part

We have an in-house MakerBot Replicator 2 that can be used to prototype parts up to 7x11x7 inches of any shape imaginable. The material used is a PLA Plastic-like material, added in layers (Fused Deposition technology). The parts are generally quite strong. Though this machine is highly versatile, limited material selection and a surface finish and accuracy differing from the design part are a limitation.
Additionally, we use a Duplicator 7, SLA type 3D printer for fine detail parts. With this printer, flat surfaces have a mirror-like surface finish and fine details are possible. The material used is one of several liquids that is hardended using a projected UV light which hardens the liquid where exposed. The downside to this approach is that the final parts are more brittle and more work goes into processing and post-processing the files. A down side is that the raw materials are more expensive but these parts lend themselves well to then create molds from them using Silicone and cast final-use parts out of Urethane Plastics of varying levels of flexibility.
Contact us for details on possibilities. If we cannot make parts in-house we have a good working relationship with several outside sources.

Reverse Engineering/3D Scanning

In addition to using calipers, measuring tape and similar, we have a NextEngine HD 3D Scanner capable of resolution in the order of 0.004"/0.1mm. This allows us to take existing objects and generate reverse engineered models to which we can design interfacing parts. Though the data is often too large to work with directly, we have several tools, including our own InStep software that can be used to reduce the complexity of the models into something more easily worked with.

NextEngine HD Scanner Sample Scan Model

Manual Tools

Manual Lathe hand tools

In addition to the automated machines mentioned above, we also have a wide assortment of hand tools ranging from polishers to presses to micrometers. We also have a small metal lathe to turn round objects and grind down tool bit shanks.

Electronics

In-house we can etch simple Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) as well as assemble (either by hand or using our SMD Pick and Place machine) through hole or surface mounted components (IR Reflow or manual soldering) down to 0402 and smaller if necessary. Two sided designs are possible using outsourced PCBs (designed and assembled in-house). All programming of embedded devices, if applicable, is done in-house for PIC processors (others possible upon request). Full designs of circuit boards is possible using DesignSpark so the end design is portable for the client and can be further modified by third parties wihtout loss of data. Assembly and programming of Raspberry Pi (2nd and later Generations) is possible too. For this purpose we use the Windows 10 IoT Core which provides a richer programming environment for most common projects. Contact us for details.

PnP Machine Printed Circuit Boards electronics tools