Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Proto Labs is an online service provider that manufactures your CNC-machined and injection-molded parts for purposes such as prototyping or short-run production. More than a year ago I wrote about the Protomold Torus, a demo model available from the company's Protomold injection-molding unit. This donut-shaped thing highlighted the company's ability to mold things like mounts, mushroom studs, bump-offs, rib corners on pockets, clip dimples, and angle, tall, and thin bosses. It was a neat objet d'part (sic) that you could get in exchange for your name and address.
Proto Labs' Protomold division is at it again with a new design aid called Protogami. As you might guess by the name, Protogami is some sort of fold-together gizmo. It's about the size of a sandwich plate and somewhat reminiscent of a Buckminster Fuller design or some NASA prototype intended to roam on Mars.
The Protogami has four main framework sections. Each framework section has three hinges (two narrow, one wide), five clips, four pockets, a slot, and a clip. The basic structure consists of the polypropylene framework and 24 triangle shapes that fit into the framework. The triangles are made of six distinct resins and four different finishes. You assemble your Protogami.
OK, so what's the point? Well, obviously, Protogami shows off the types of resins and and finishes (and quality) that Protomold can offer you. But that's not the Protogami's true coolness. You see, every time you turn the Protogami, it displays six different resins side-by-side in one of four finishes. What that means is that you can clearly see that the look of a particular finish can vary depending on which resin you apply it to. And that visual design aid sitting on your desk will help you make an informed decision when you're considering what finishes and materials will be best for your part.
Simple, elegant, utilitarian, and fun. It's also a conversation starter when people see it sitting there on your desk next to the ray gun noise box you got for your birthday.
Details on the finishes and materials that make up the Protogami can be found in today's Pick of the Week write-up. You'll find the link to register for your own Protogami design aid at the end of the write-up. Other links will lead you to more information about the Protomold injection-modeling division of Proto Labs, as well the company itself and its CNC-machining unit. Make sure to check out Protomold's online interactive demo of how you can get price quotes instantly. It's slick.
Good stuff. I've enjoyed fiddling with the Protogami. I'm thinking you will too.
Thanks, pal. -- Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
Read today's Pick of the Week.
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