You know what your thing should look like, and what it should do. It is probably something you have come to know like a good friend. You have probably spent hours of creative time working on it, thinking about it, and revising it over and over again. “Obsession” is a word that usually describes it. That is okay. We understand. 🙂
Most folks need to sell their thing or idea someday. The people who need to visualize that thing are usually investors or users who would very much like to see and understand your thing before investing their resources in it. Sometimes it is not financially practical to have a complete prototype ready to show to investors, especially when those investors are not located where you are. Consider too that to see a photo and to have an actual prototype in hand present different risks for having your idea copied by others.
One of the strengths of designing parts or complete assemblies in 3D CAD software is that we can generate photo-realistic images of what the part will look like when it is made. We can place logos, add photo-realistic lighting, backgrounds, or whatever is needed to depict the device. Sometimes those images lead to aesthetic changes that can mean all the difference in the final product. Sometimes those images get used for promotional materials that would be difficult to generate by using a physical model. Sometimes those images go no further than a portfolio.
Sometimes a photo is indeed worth a thousand words.
Our rapid prototyping capability helps us make tools quickly for our contract manufacturing needs.
Have you ever been tinkering around and wondered to yourself, “If only I had a tool that could do…” All of the mechanical engineers I know have extensive tool boxes. While it is great to have every driver, wrench and helpful thingy known to man at the tip of your fingers, it is not always a tool that is off-the-shelf that will do the job.
One of the services we provide is the manufacturing of wire harnesses. In one case it was necessary to twist wires together and the client needed parts fast. Sounds easy, right? Try buying a reasonably priced tool that can do that, especially when you have crimped ends that most folks don’t use. The lead time to actually get the twister delivered would directly have put us out of the picture.
Since our strength is custom work in relatively small runs of maybe a few thousand pieces, we make our own tools using rapid prototyping. One of our favorite tools is a handy little device that we use for wire twisting. Using a small motor, a foot switch, and our special rig, it works consistently and efficiently. When you need to twist wires for 500 harnesses, the little rig can save hours of work. With our rapid prototype capabilities, we can easily make new fixtures to accommodate different crimped ends. Within 24 hours we had conceptualized, designed, and 3D printed the wire twister which is seen in action in the video we made.