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3-Axis to 12-Axis: CNC Milling Machine Capabilities Compared

Computer Numerical Control (or CNC) machining combines the efficiency of computer programming with the accuracy of lathe machines. The programmed software controls the movement of the tools and other machinery, thereby automating the manufacturing process and maintaining design consistency. Modern-day multi-axis CNC Milling Machines come with a wide range of features, which adds value and […]

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A Guide to Prototyping Materials for Medical Devices

“Medical device” is a broad umbrella term that covers a huge variety of apparatus and equipment, such as Band-Aids, dental floss, blood pressure cuffs, defibrillators, MRI scanners, and much, much more. It’s probably no surprise that medical device design constitutes a major segment of the field of mechanical engineering, especially in the U.S., which is […]

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How to Read Material Data Sheets

To most people, plastics might seem all the same, but to an engineer, plastics come in families, have cousin materials, and have other materials that are as different as cats are from dogs. Of course, our clients expect us to worry about these details, and as nerds, the minute differences between materials are a source […]

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Scaling Up: From 3D Printed Prototypes to Injection Mold-Ready Designs

We love the invention and design development process. We love seeing the concepts come together, love working through iterations of prototypes and finally (finally!) getting a design just right, fulfilling all the technical and aesthetic requirements. But do you know what’s even better? Seeing your designs in full-scale manufacture. Unfortunately, once your design is beautiful […]

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CNC Plastics Selection Guide

So you’ve got a part to design, and the first step is to determine what material it should be made out of. You decide the part should be plastic, and it should be CNC machined, but does the selection stop there? Nope, there are a plethora of plastics to choose from, each with its own […]

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Design and Application Guide for Anodizing Aluminum

Anodizing is one of the most common surface treatment options available for cnc aluminum. We’ve probably all seen anodized pieces used in a variety of applications, ranging from some of Apple’s iPhones and iPods to sprockets on motorcycles and karts. This article will walk you through the design considerations, as well as the applications, for […]

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Guide to Plastic Materials for Prototyping and Production

In the world of plastics, there are a lot of different options for a designer to choose from. There are so many plastic materials, in fact, that the process of selecting the proper 3D printing plastics for prototyping and subsequent manufacturing plastics for production may seem intimidating. This article seeks to clarify the main types of plastic materials […]

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Conversion Coatings: The Benefits of Passivation, Black Oxide, Alodine, and Anodizing

We all know what happens when metal is exposed to the elements: rust. When designing and creating your products, the last thing you want to discover is an uneven and grungy layer of corrosion.  Although this is an age old problem, there are many ways to circumvent it. One of the best solutions to avoiding […]

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PLA vs ABS-like: Getting the Edge on Appearance and Precision

With manufacturing processes evolving quite rapidly in today’s world, it can be difficult to keep up with so many groundbreaking discoveries. In an effort to learn more about the 3D printing world, in particular, I will be showcasing two identical designs composed of two different printing materials: PLA (polylactic acid) and ABS-like (also known as […]

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Finding Flexibility: Results of a 3D Printed Strain Wave Gear

One of the most advantageous mechanical gearing systems is the strain wave gear, also known as a harmonic drive. It has high gear reduction ratios (ranging from 30:1 to 320:1), which allow for high speed reduction, no backlash, and high torque, all in a compact and lightweight system. Because of these abilities, the system is […]