Explore our rapid prototyping equipment below by opening the different accordion sections.

Our CNC machine is a 3 axis milling machining center. It is commonly used for precision machining of parts for the automobile industry and for a variety of other applications, including for many consumer goods.

It is similar to the CNC machines used by many metal suppliers, so our CNC engineer can make tests and fine-tune the settings, and then instruct the suppliers how to run mass production in good conditions and at the appropriate speed.

We use it for testing production processes, for rapid prototyping (typically for plastic or metal parts), and for mass production of certain metal components.

Here are two key stats:

  • Spindle max speed: 24,000 RPM
  • Positioning accuracy: +/- 0.005 mm

How it works
Our CNC machine holds the workpiece of material still while its onboard industrial computer controls the rotating cutter to remove material to form the required design, therefore this is subtractive prototyping. It can follow three directions of freedom, X, Y, and Z, which is why this machine is known as a 3-axis mill.

Learn more about CNC prototyping here.

Benefits

  • Very flexible in its applications and in the materials it can shape.
  • Can drill holes in-center or off-center, can do straight or angled cuts, and accepts material that comes in many shapes (not necessarily cylindrical).
  • For prototypes: making parts in certain shapes quickly
  • For small series (manufacturing): fabricating some metal or plastic parts internally, with a MOQ of 1 piece
  • For DFM and industrializing the fabrication of metal parts for mass productions: testing for optimizing the settings of the CNC machines, and challenging the machining suppliers when needed. We have an in-house CNC engineer for that.

Drawbacks

  • Not ideal for many shapes (e.g. products with deep cavities), for which other processes will be needed.
  • Will not present the same mechanical properties as mass production for parts that will be injection molded, cast, etc.

Benefits

  • Many types of resin can be used (hard plastic, soft rubber, transparent…)
  • Relatively high precision (+/- 0.1%) for a smooth surface; can make walls as thin as 0.5mm
  • Can generate parts that are up to 450 mm long
  • Sofeast can generate the 3D drawings either by designing them in a CAD software or by 3D-scanning an existing object; we can then 3D print it
  • Prototypes: making product enclosures as well as internal custom parts (can also be used for generating different shapes and getting feedback quickly, in the early exploratory phases)
  • Makes assembly fixtures for our internal use
  • It is very fast compared to other methods of creating the first few parts and prototypes (such as a mold for plastic injection molded parts which takes a fairly long time to fabricate before it can be used)

Drawbacks

  • Parts are structurally different (and, in a way, more fragile) than injection molded parts, so testing at this stage can’t give a definite indication of reliability & durability
  • The resin polymer used is sensitive to sunlight and will degrade over time, affecting the mechanical properties of the part
  • For a nice visual aspect, post-processing may be needed to eliminate the mark left by the part’s support (which is needed to hold it during printing)
  • Only one color can be printed at a time
3D-printer

Our 3D printer uses SLA (stereolithography), a layer by layer manufacturing method using photosensitive resin (polyacrylate) as the raw material for the parts and prototypes being fabricated. Since layers are added one by one, this is additive prototyping.

How it works
The SLA printing process utilizes an industrial computer and a vat of liquid resin which is cured precisely layer by layer by a UV laser to form a part. As one layer is made, the printer moves it up a layer out of the pool of polymer and then the next layer is made, and so on, until the part is complete.

Learn more about 3D printing processes for prototyping here.

Our FDM 3D printer can be used for special prototyping purposes when a wider choice of colors and production materials is important.
There are 2 very common types of 3D printing technology and we have both in house ready for prototyping and small production runs.

Key stats:

  • Printing size: 300x300x400mm
  • Materials: PLA/ABS/PETG/TPU
  • Printing speed: ≤180mm/s, normal 30-60mm/s
color 3d printer fdm

Benefits

  • FDM 3D printers can use a wider range of materials than SLA models, and the material is usually cheaper, too.
  • You have more options for colors when using an FDM printer which can be helpful when creating prototypes.

Drawbacks

  • SLA 3D printers provide a more accurate finish than FDM, so this printer may not be suitable for certain prototypes where the finish needs to be very faithful to production standards.
3d scanner

We often use our in-house Reeyee 3D scanner to get the 3D dimensions of parts, products, or tools when that’s necessary. For example, some customers may need to replicate their own product, but their previous suppliers refused to give them the CAD drawings.

Once a shape has been 3D scanned, we can replicate it either by 3D printing or CNC machining, so the scanner is a good complement to those two machines.

It provides 3 scanning modes:

  • Automatic
  • Free scan
  • Handheld scan

It also has a <0.1mm single frame scan accuracy for very accurate scans and can scan objects with a diameter between 3 to 70cm.

How it works
The object to be scanned is placed on the scanner’s platform which slowly rotates as the cameras take the scan. The object can be turned over by hand so the scanner can get all angles and doesn’t miss anything. The 3D scan is fed directly back to a connected computer in high resolution.

Our CNC-controlled CO2 laser cutting machine is used to cut parts for prototypes and products in-house.
Many materials come to us in flat plates. We have to cut them with high precision, in a controlled and repeatable manner.
For production runs, this machine provides us with both the speed and precision that some of our projects require.

We also have 2 laser engraving machines, too:

  • One for general materials (mostly used on metal)
  • One for glass
laser cutting machine

Key specifications

  • Power: 80W
  • Working area: 1000 x 800 mm
  • Engraving speed: up to 800mm/s
  • Cutting speed: up to 400mm/s
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.1 mm
sofeast sandblasting machine

Our sandblasting machine is great for quickly adding a nice finish to prototypes and products that have been assembled. It’s a great alternative to slow, laborious activities when done by hand, such as sanding, deburring, grinding, and other finishing tasks that might be done to prototypes, and during assembly or the rework of defective parts.

Our model is a siphon blast machine where negative pressure helps suck the sand into the spray nozzle inside before blasting the parts etc to be finished. This is one of the more energy-efficient sandblasting machine types.

Typical applications for our sandblasting machine

  • Finishing 3d-printed components (removing striation lines)
  • Line removal from cast metal products
  • Deburring and descaling metal products

How it works
The part to be finished, such as a metal component, is loaded into the blast cabinet. Upon activation, air mixes with the abrasive, in this case sand is used. The sand is then fired at the part at high pressure through a nozzle due to negative pressure that’s created by the machine’s valves. The operator can check on the finishing progress by looking at the part through the large observation window.

ultrasonic welding machine

Technical statistics:

  • Output power | 0-3000W
  • Output voltage | 40-3000V AC
  • Operating ambient temperature | +5C to +50
  • Frequency | 15KHz/20KHz/28KHz/30KHZ/35KHz/40KHz
  • Overcurrent protection current | 15A
  • Overcurrent protection time | 100ms
  • Overheat protection temperature | 85℃

Our ultrasonic welding machine is used for assembling 2 parts together by using high-frequency vibration.

It is very versatile in materials it can join. This kind of welding is often used to join 2 thermoplastic parts, but it must be noted that it can also be applied to metals or paper that is coated with PP or PE plastic.

Key points:

  • The finishing is regular (pleasing to the eye) and waterproof. It is often a great alternative to using glue or to soldering.
  • This process is used for the assembly of many parts in consumer electronics, automotive, medical devices, food packaging, TPU/PVC on inflatables, etc.
  • The 2 parts may be in different materials, but both need to be relatively thin.

Interested in rapid prototyping?

 

Learn more about how we help with prototyping and get a quote here.

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