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Manufacturing Processes


GD&T 101: An Introduction to Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing

This article was originally published in February, 2017 by Jeremy Hill. The content has been updated. Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T or GD and T) is a language of symbols and standards designed and used by engineers and manufacturers to describe the shape (geometry) and size (dimensions) of a product and facilitate communication between entities […]


Thermoplastics vs. Thermoset Plastics: Material Properties Overview

Thermoplastics and thermoset plastics are classes of polymers used in injection molding, CNC machining, 3D printing, and urethane casting. Like elastomers, another class of polymer, thermoplastics and thermosets both consist of long, repeating chains of molecules. Under a microscope, the structure of a thermoplastic resembles a railroad track while a thermoset material looks like a […]


How to Build a BOM

Chefs create recipes. Hardware Engineers create BOMs (Bill of Materials) and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). The BOM is an ingredient list for building your product, and the SOP is the set of instructions on how to build it. In this article, we’ll explain how to construct an excellent ingredients list that will help you clearly […]


3D Printed Light Pipes: Overview and Material Selection

The advent of 3D printable transparent materials has opened doors to new possibilities with rapid prototyping for optical applications. Now, we can consider how to use and manipulate light with 3D printed parts. Light pipes, sometimes referred to as light guides or light tubes, are physical components used to purposefully redirect or transport light from […]


Let It Slide: Self-Lubrication in Mechanical Assemblies

Friction is one of the five contact forces along with tension, spring force, normal force, and air resistance. Friction is what gives us traction on the road, good brakes, and allows us to walk without looking like a baby giraffe. But sometimes we just want to let things slide, and that’s when friction frustrates — […]


Threaded Locking Methods for Secure Connections

Threaded fasteners, such as bolts and nuts, are used in many applications, ranging from plastic toys to massive bridges. And all threaded fastener connections need to stay together when we want them to, but also come apart when needed. For example, the valve covers on an engine must remain in place while driving, but we […]

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