Writing about this topic was probably my first thought. But I have written a lot, and I haven’t spoken about it yet. And to be honest, I didn’t find the right answer to it. When I read what I wrote, I see more difficulties in the hardware industry than expected and a process that could
I have been writing mainly about “self-making”. But there’s a question: is it worth it? Because there’s the alternative of someone doing it for us.
Many companies are offering these services. I find it very interesting that you can select the material, the manufacturing method, the delivery time, upload your file, and you’ll obtain a price.
How to learn
The learning process was also interesting with the machines and the production. There is a needed short intro, and then you have to learn by trial and error. For the machines, I use to read the handbook, but many parameters and settings depend on each project and material, and they are not described
What to learn
There are many disciplines here: from software to machines, including adjustments and material properties.
We start with software, and we don’t use only one. At least there are three:
- Something for 3D design, usually Fusion 360.
- Something for the 2D files (in the laser cutting), frequently Inkscape, but also Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator, or Freehand,
Documenting is a really important process. With many parameters and a trial and error process, writing everything is the key to understand what’s happening. But that’s not easy. We have many spontaneous ideas, and when they are successful, we have to write them down. Usually, we just celebrate the success, and we start thinking about
This one-year trip to something quite new was very interesting for me. I learnt many things, but what was probably more interesting was the “discovery process“. What my expectations were, what and how I learnt and what are the opportunities I see.
Expectations and doubts
I was expecting some engineering. To me, it means learning a process,
CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) is probably the most powerful system to manufacture final pieces. It’s an interesting option for manufacturing in 3D but with a kind of 2D design strategy. What I used here is a 2.5-3 axes machine, where the advantages vs laser cutting are limited. With a 5 axes machine, the options are
Laser cutting has been my biggest discovery. The process is easy: to cut a board. It’s similar to what we can do with a cutter or a saw.
These machines are fast and accurate, but the challenges are in the adjustments. There are only two parameters: power and speed. The concept is easy: as laser-beam check
SLA 3D printers
Using SLA 3d printers, frequently Formlabs, the quality is absolutely different and better than with FDM. The result is good enough for ready to use and sell products, also when they have tiny details. But the process is significantly longer (maybe more than one day), the materials could be rigid or flexible, with
3D printers are the most famous tools for innovative manufacturing. They are game-changer and very ingenious technology. But maybe there are many expectations around them. This idea for the future, that “everyone will have a 3D printer at home”, was extremely ambitious, and probably it doesn’t make sense at all. We don’t need it to