I was wondering if anyone has any resources for rapid prototyping of CNC’d and anodized aluminum parts. For my senior project, I may be using metal in my appearance model (rather than sprayed renshape), but I don’t really have a CNC that can shape aluminum, nor do I have access to any anodizing facilities.
I would need a turnaround of a couple of days (design’s not set yet, but projects due in several weeks) and hopefully the cost is manageable for a student.
What companies would you recommend me to look into? The scale of this is a mobile device (handheld).
I’ve been Googlin’ but haven’t found anything that fits the bill.
Julius, just a thought but when you contact some places try to play the student card to your advantage, I know a couple of DAAP students that have received free SLA’ed or metal milled pieces from regional shops if they agree to let the company put the final model along with some sweet development in their company portfolios. Looks good for them, looks great for your wallet
As far as anodizing, if you can’t find a regional shop, look into online paintball gun anodizing shops like this one
I think I’m going with sandblasting instead of anodization to simulate the look. We have a sandblaster here.
I’m looking into quickparts.com or cntmotion.com. Any prior experiences with them? I noticed quickparts mostly does metal parts for machinery, but not really anything with high fidelity surfacing like a consumer product…
How much is your budget? and do you have the files already?
I know it sounds weird. but there are many prototype makers in China that can help you do this job 1/4 price ( or more discounts) compare to the ones in US. Just search around. You will end up saving even after shipping with Fedex.
firstcut is great for what it is (i’ve personally had everything accurate to .005, but have heard of people getting stuff that’s off by .012)
When you get machined aluminum parts from them, there is a risk. About 50% of the Al parts I’ve gotten from them have had tool marks visible (even with their light bad blast). If that is unacceptable then you may want to look elsewhere… although beating firstcut’s ~3 day delivery would be tough.
You may eventually get someone suggesting that the machine marks will be etched off in the anodized bath… i’ve never seen that happen. I’ve had brushed metal anodized and I could still see the brush marks through it, so be skeptical.