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Discussion and questions related to the course 3D Modelling & CAD for Motorsport.
Depending on where in the world you're located, it can be tricky to find local shops to manufacture your designs.
Specifically designs that require or are best suited to CNC processes, rather than general fabrication jobs that we'll likely be doing ourselves.
Excluding buying machinery yourself, I break this into two main options.
Finding capable local shops usually comes from a combination of internet searches, talking with others in the industry, experience, and of course getting on the phone or talking with the manufacturer in person to understand what they are able to achieve and what they require from us in terms of files or drawings to make our designs.
At HPA we're lucky enough to have a small 3D printer and CNC router in-house, but we also use a mix of local and non-local, plasma, water-jet and laser cutters, and CNC machinists to produce our custom designs for our project cars.
Note you will find a lot of this relevant equipment in a variety of businesses. We have had a joinery factory and a boat builder use their routers and cutters for us for both prototyping and finished products. Another guy we found by asking around runs a CNC business from his home garage/shed (don't tell the neighbours). All that can happen if you ask a business if they would be willing to run something up for you is to be told no, so it's always worth a try.
Alternatively and conveniently there are now some great online CNC manufacturing services, where you can essentially send them your CAD files and they'll make your design/part and send it to you.
We thought it would be a good idea to start compiling a list of these services for everyone to reference.
I'll get it started with the 2 most well-known and we will continue to add to this list over time for you guys.
Laser & Cutting, CNC Routing
SendCutSend - Originally a 2D cutting (laser, water-jet, routing) service for sheet metal parts, but they're always adding more services like CNC routing and finishing options including anodizing, powder coating and plating.
Easy website to upload your design, get a quote, and get your parts cut quickly and sent out to you.
You can also design your own simple parts on their website, and there are some handy built-in DFM/design guidelines.
At the moment, I think they only ship inside the USA and Canada, but from what I understand they are trying to expand this.
OshCut - Metal Cutting and Sheet Metal & Metal Bending Services along with various tapping and finishing options. Similar to send cut send and have a great reputation for delivering orders quickly and competently.
H&K Fabrication - Laser Cutting service. Easy to use website where you can quickly upload DXFs choose the material and thickness and get a quick quote. Seems to be limited to USA and Canada for now. They also have some other general fabrication services
3D Printing, CNC Machining, Casting & Injection Moulding
Xometry - use's a network of manufacturers that covers most of the methods we would need for automotive parts, except for composites.
That's additive manufacturing/3D printing, machining, sheet metal and tubing CNC cutting and bending, and Plastic and Metal molding and casting.
Upload your design, choose the materials and manufacturing method, analyze the design to see if it could be improved for that method, get a quote, and order the parts.
Shipping can be a bit slower than SendCutSend, since the manufacturing is outsourced, but there are more options for manufacturing methods and it covers, the USA and Europe.
3D Printing, CNC Machining & Injection Moulding
eMachineShop - Well established and recommended by David below so you know you can trust them!
"Don't forget one of the earliest internet CNC shops, eMachineShop.com. I was using them like 20 years ago to create aluminum button plates. They provided CAN software for drawing the parts, and it had cost estimation built in, so you could figure out if it was worth having them finish everything, or leave some for you to do. I could order parts and have them de-burred, brushed finish, and anodized. I would order like 10 or 20 at a time."
3D Printing, CNC Machining, 2D Sheetmetal Laser, Plasma and Water-jet Cutting
prototypehubs - Custom manufacturing platform that connects customers to local and global manufacturing partners who provide 3D printing, CNC cutting, Sheet Metal and CNC machining services.
Upload your files and select from different material and manufacturing options. Then review quotes and select the manufacturer.
From here you can order the part and have it shipped to you.
3D Printing, CNC Machining & Injection Moulding
Metal Cutting and Sheet Metal Services
Please help us add to this list with a link, a basic description of the service, and maybe some experience you've had with them also via a post below.
Don't forget one of the earliest internet CNC shops, eMachineShop.com. I was using them like 20 years ago to create aluminum button plates. They provided CAN software for drawing the parts, and it had cost estimation built in, so you could figure out if it was worth having them finish everything, or leave some for you to do. I could order parts and have them de-burred, brushed finish, and anodized. I would order like 10 or 20 at a time.
What about CNC tube bending and notching for something like chassis building? Any recommendations?