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.
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.
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). 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. For details, please contact us.
We have an in-house Solido 3D PRO printer that can be used to prototype parts up to 6x8x5 inches of any shape imaginable. The material used is a PVC-like material, added in layers (Plastic Sheet Lamination technology). The parts are strong and unlike FDM parts can have a smooth surface where the part is flat & horizontal. Though this machine is highly versatile, the higher part cost and limited material selection are a limitation.
A new addition is the MakerBot Replicator 2 which is a low cost FDM 3D Printer that can be used to print concepts at an early stage and at very low cost. Typical parts can be printed for as low as $10 though additional fees apply if parts are simply to be printed rather than part of a design-package. Contact us for details.
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.
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.
In-house we can etch simple Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) as well as assemble through hole or surface mounted components (IR Reflow or manual soldering) down to 0402 and smaller if necessary. Two sided designs are possible with outsourced PCBs. All programming of embedded devices is done in-house for PIC processors. 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. Contact us for details.