at ignition, we do quite a bit of sheet metal design and prototyping, so i
have at least some insight. most sheet metal shops are production houses,
and if the volumes aren't high enough, they simply aren't interested. in
other words, in most cases, how "rapid" your prototyping is will depend on
what else is going on that week. we've found a few keys to success in
prototyping sheet metal for our clients - some of whom come to us for that
reason alone. first, you have to find a shop that can work in your cad
format and accept 3d data. this isn't as trivial as it sounds, because in
general the sheet metal world isn't as up to speed in that respect as the
injection molding and metal casting communities are. second, find a shop
that can quote from a model. many sheet metal shops will insist on a
drawing, and as you probably know, the prototyping stage is not necessarily
the best place to be doing detail drawings. in general, shops that will
quote from a model will be faster than those that are stuck to the old
school method. finally - and maybe most importantly - find a shop that
specializes in prototyping. with sheet metal, that's the most difficult
thing to do, but it will pay big dividends down the product development
note that this all applies whether you are talking bent forms or stamped.
however, the reality with stamped parts is that you will be forced to build
a tool of some kind, which obviously makes prototyping even less rapid.
i hope this helps! as i alluded to earlier, ignition is a complete product
development house, but if all you need is a sheet metal prototype we can
handle that, too.
will pattison, idsa
From: G. Mensing
To: Rapid Prototyping Mailing List (E-mail)
Sent: 12/11/01 7:08 PM
Subject: sheet metal
Does anyone have any information on rapid prototyping for sheet metal?
With this I mean making sheet metal sheets into products and not the
layer based technology so frequently used in RP.
For more information about the rp-ml, see http://rapid.lpt.fi/rp-ml/
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