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How do we make things?


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How do we make things?


 
 
 

Design courtesy of Tulio Laanen.
http://tuliolaanen.com/

3D printing

3D printing is our primary tool for making ideas come to life. A 3D printer works by putting down plastic layer by layer until a three dimensional shape has been created. Think of the "hot-end" or "working-end" of the 3D printer works much like a hot-glue gun, it accepts a large piece of plastic, melts it, and squeezes it out of a small hole. Now imagine if you used that hot-glue gun to make a sculpture, you could lay down a layer, let it cool, then put another layer on top of that. Once you have enough layers, you have your sculpture. A 3D printer works exactly the same way, but it's controlled precisely by a computer, and it has a much smaller nozzle than the hot-glue gun.

We use a Raise3D N2+ 3D printer. It can print a verity of materials including PLA, ABS, PC, Nylon, PETG, NinjaFlex and some others. Most of our work is done in PLA because it is the easiest to use, and the most readily available, but when we are designing a product that will face more abuse, we can print in a more durable material. Our printer is accurate to about 0.015mm (0.0006 inches) , though most plastics can't quite hold that precision. Our printer can print in an area that is 305×305×610mm (12x12x24 inches).

 

CNC

We have a small 3-axis CNC machine. A CNC machine is similar to a 3D printer, but it works in the opposite direction. Instead of adding material in layers to build a shape, the CNC starts with a chunk of material and carves it down into the final shape. CNC work has the advantage of being able to work in just about any material. Our CNC does a great job in wood, plastic, foam, aluminum, brass, and pretty much whatever else you can think of, except for steel and some other hard metals.

CNC work is harder to get set up than 3D printing, but it can make stronger parts, with more detail, and do it faster. The ability to work in aluminum and wood opens a whole world of higher performance, professional products.

 

Other Methods

The CNC and 3D printer are our preferred methods of construction because they are quick, easy, and repeatable. Once a CNC or 3D printer is set up, it runs its self with little skill needed to keep it going, but they have limits. We can make things a number of other ways. We have a full wood shop, we can do silicon mold making, resin casting, vacuum forming, and soon we will be able to do aluminum casting.

When we need to make something where the look or feel is the most important trait, we start by sculpting a physical model in wood, foam, or clay then reverse engineering it into a CAD model that we can modify, or reproduce on the CNC or 3D printer.

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Capabilities


We do a lot of things, but if you don't see what you need on this list, please ask us! This is not an exhaustive list, plus we have a wide network of shops and vendors we are able to work with.

Capabilities


We do a lot of things, but if you don't see what you need on this list, please ask us! This is not an exhaustive list, plus we have a wide network of shops and vendors we are able to work with.

Product DEsign

  • Usability design
  • Aesthetic design
  • Marketable design
  • Packaging design
  • Concept sketches and renders

Mechanical design

  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Mechanical drawing
  • Mechanism design
  • Machine design
  • Manufacturing design and specification
  • Stress and strength analysis
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Mold Design

Rapid Prototyping

  • 3D Printing
  • CNC
  • Hand crafted prototypes
  • Aluminum casting (Coming soon!)
  • Silicon and urethane mold making
  • Resin casting
  • Vacuum forming