Modern additive manufacturing technology (commonly known as 3d printing) has taken the world by storm. This technique is widely used for prototyping, but is it the right option in all circumstances? 3d printing's primary advantage is its cost, which is undoubtedly appealing for small companies interested in limited runs for prototyping or testing purposes. While this can make sense for cheap parts without significant precision requirements, it is rarely the correct choice for products that must meet exacting specifications even during the prototyping phase.
In these cases, a professional milling shop will always be the best option. Not only will using a professional shop ultimately produce better results, but it will also be more cost-effective in the long run. By getting the job done right the first time, you will save money remanufacturing parts that do not meet specifications and avoid lost business due to incorrectly printed parts. Choosing a professional shop can sometimes be challenging, however, so these tips will help you to select the right machine shop for your prototyping needs.
When it comes to prototyping, few things are as crucial as a rapid turnaround time. How quickly can your machine shop produce new parts based on updated specifications? What kind of production time should you expect for shorting production runs? If you are prototyping specifically for testing purposes, then it may be necessary to replace lost parts or to produce short runs in batches. Make sure that the shop you work with is capable of meeting your production requirements even if they change suddenly.
Not all machining work is the same. You may feel as if milling is milling, but experience with projects of similar scales is a vital part of finding a manufacturing partner. Most shops should be happy to show off past work or to put you into contact with current clients for referrals. Be sure that the shop you choose has experience working on projects like yours. When speaking with current or past clients for referrals, ask about short production run or prototype work so that you can get a clear understanding of how the shop handles this type of work.
Search for a Long-Term Partner
Most importantly, don't treat your search for a prototyping shop as a one-time deal. Many shops offer prototyping services as a demonstration of their abilities, and ultimately as a way to convince future customers to work with them for long-term production runs. Working with a shop for prototyping or testing runs is a great way to evaluate their competence and capabilities. While a prototype won't tell you everything that you need to know about a shop's abilities, it will provide first-hand knowledge of how they operate as a business partner. This knowledge can help you to develop a business relationship that can last even as you move into final production.
For more information, contact companies like Aero Mechanism Precision.