Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
I'm a surfer dude. Web surfer that is. Surfing the web looking for neat stuff is how I come up with these Check It Out and Pick of the Week recommendations for you. And every now and then I stumble across something that is really interesting but out of the normal well-done video or exciting new product box that I typically write about. Such is the case today.
If you have ever given yourself a headache trying to figure out how you'd go about getting prepared to engage in rapid prototyping and/or rapid manufacturing so that you get the right part on the first shot, Quickparts has the answer for you in its online Learning Center. This joint is really a gem, folks. The best analogy I can give you is that it's like finding a great book or music store while you're on vacation. You'll linger here browsing and learning all sorts of things.
So, what'll you find? Clear, concise, and thorough discussions on all things rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing—some even for dummies but not written like you are a dummy. You can learn about materials, thickness and pliability, CNC versus plastic prototypes, design for manufacturing analysis, and tips and tricks for making your CAD design friendly for the rapid prototyping process. You can fiddle with an advisor to help you find the right material for the job, and there's a tolerance calculator to punch in some numbers.
I was particularly intrigued with the Injection Molding Design Guide. As you might imagine, this complex topic requires a long (for the web) discussion; however, the man or woman who wrote this gets an A-plus. The process is broken down into its logical components; production problems are identified and explained, and corrections recommended; lead times outlined; and all sorts of smart ideas are offered with an eye toward making your efforts a success every time.
Oh, and while poking around the Injection Molding Design Guide, make sure to sign-up for a complementary injection molding design sample. That way you can see with your hands exactly the type of quality you can get from Quickparts.
Now, Quickparts, of course, is a manufacturing services company. These guys want you to use them as your third-party custom part producer. So do a lot of other similar companies and, truth be told, many of the manufacturing services companies in this sector have lots of great material for you. Here's why I recommend that you check out the Quickparts Learning Center: I wish I had written the materials you'll find.
Yes, that recommendation is totally writer dude meta, man. But it is also a sincere tip of my hat to a job very well done. Check out the Quickparts Learning Center. You'll find yourself lingering in its pages too.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering