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[DPRG] Rapid Prototype parts

Subject: [DPRG] Rapid Prototype parts
From: Chuck McManis cmcmanis at mcmanis.com
Date: Wed May 29 16:05:06 CDT 2002

At 01:39 PM 5/29/02, Andrew Welch wrote:
>Is this going to be expensive?

Yes.

If they are small plastic or aluminum parts then about 30 hrs of machine 
shop time is where the price point crosses over with getting your own small 
mill w/tooling.

Look in the yellow pages under "Precision Manufacturing", "Machine Shops", 
or "Tool & Die Makers." A bunch of places will specialize in car engine 
work and they won't be too much help. The precision manufacturing guys are 
the ones who do prototypes around the SF Bay Area, and the tool and die 
folks are often fairly general purpose shops. During the 'boom' most shops 
here had a $1,500 charge if you stepped in the door. Also don't ask for 
just 1, as that is the most expensive, ask for as many as you can get in 
the allotted number of hours of time your buying. A good CAM shop can take 
an ACIS solid file or cad file and generate the necessary G-Code to make 
your part on a CNC mill in less than an hour. Then you can buy a 1/2 hour 
of "mill time" and have it make as many as possible (they will know 
approximately how long each will take). There is usually a tooling charge 
as well (amortized tool wear) but some places here include that in the mill 
time charge.

If the parts can be stamped or laser cut they can be cheaper but that means 
no voids from odd angles.

--Chuck


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