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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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
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.
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.
- Printing size: 300x300x400mm
- Materials: PLA/ABS/PETG/TPU
- Printing speed: ≤180mm/s, normal 30-60mm/s
- 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.
- 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.
This 3D printer uses DLP (Digital Light processing), a type of vat polymerization, to harden liquid photopolymer resin into the desired form by curing it with light. Just like SLA printers, it produces parts layer-by-layer and is another type of additive prototyping ideal for electronics, jewelry, toys and figures, dental items, and hearing aids..
How it works:
The light projector screen flashes a complete image of each layer onto the resin which is sitting in the resin tank above it. This allows an entire layer to be cured at the same time, unlike SLA, for example, which cures a layer from point to point using a UV laser. After that layer is cured, the printer moves it up and the next layer is cured from the liquid polymer until the part is made.
- Versatile materials as it can use ABS, PC, TPU, etc, plastics to print parts, and most of the same that SLA printers can use as well.
- Faster than SLA printers as each layer is cured completely at once, saving time spent tracing the layer from point to point by the SLA’s laser. It prints at 60mm/hr.
- Usually produces better quality printed parts than FDM printers and many SLS printers, especially for intricate designs like hearing aids or dentures. Accuracy is 25um.
- Lower running costs as less resin is used than SLA printers, which can reduce the cost per piece for customers.
- Capable of printing thinner parts than SLA printers which may be useful when a thin enclosure is desirable, for example, as the DLP printer’s light penetrates less resin than the thickness of the SLA’s UV laser.
- It is perfect for printing transparent parts, unlike other 3D printers which aren’t as suitable.
- More expensive to run than FDM printers as polymers are more expensive than filaments and the printer’s hardware, print platforms and resin tanks, need to be replaced periodically.
- DLP parts are less durable than those made with FDM or injection molding, so this is an issue if the parts are to be used in an application where strength and durability are important.
- Parts will usually not handle sun exposure for long periods, the same as with SLA printing, as the resins commonly used will degrade.
- The finished parts may require more post-processing than SLA-printed parts because a laser can trace a smooth surface whereas DLP’s layers are more pixellated.
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:
- 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.
- Power: 80W
- Working area: 1000 x 800 mm
- Engraving speed: up to 800mm/s
- Cutting speed: up to 400mm/s
- Accuracy: +/- 0.1 mm
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.
- Output power | 0-3000W
- Output voltage | 40-3000V AC
- Operating ambient temperature | +5C to +50
- Frequency | 15/20/28/30/35/40KHz
- 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.
- 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.
Below you can see several of the many pieces of test equipment that we have in our in-house testing lab and regularly use to test your product prototypes that we’re working on as validating their performance, compliance, and quality is critical during prototype development.