Manufactureable Tube Structure

I’m looking for info on the manufacturability of a part like this.

production size will be about 15,000 units.

We’ve made some real nice proto-types that were made from 18" dia “form-a-tube” (rolled paper tube with a 3/16" thick wall used in the concrete industry - it’s like a giant toilet paper roll) with the holes hand-cut.

The 2 things in production that’ll make it tricky is…

…applying the Mylar 3-Color printed wrap/laminated materia around the outside surface.

… the large holes cut out of the column are in a vertical array slanted at 78 degrees (if these holes were right angles this wouldn’t be a problem).

is there a machine or a 5-axis CNC Router that could be set up to cut holes in columns like this for this size of run?


Interesting shape…
is there a substrate you are using underneath the Mylar? You could almost do it out of a thin guage aluminum. Draw it up in Solidworks or Inventor or something and unroll the pattern so it could be cut flat and rolled. Then you could weld the seam together in the back where the shape is solid.
Then your mylar could be printed and cut to the same shape and laminated around it.

Might be a more expensive route to go, but probably less than a 5 axis router.
The size of the run might hold you back a bit with this method, but it could work.

Hope that gives you somewhere to start.

More details are needed for your application. But, based on what I see, I would suggest looking at something like ABS pipe in the required diameter.

Whatever you use, there are several ways to cut those holes other than stamping and rolling a sheet. A pre-fab pipe section could be cut on an industrial laser with the X-axis set to rotation. You could make an outside jig and cut that out with a router. And finally, a woodshop could probably do all this for relatively little compared to a CNC or metal shop.

For the outer coating, check and see if the vehicle graphics people can do something for you. The real issue will be jigging up the decal so that everything lines up.


For the outer coating, check and see if the vehicle graphics people can do something for you. The real issue will be jigging up the decal so that everything lines up.

Precisely where the unrolled model would come in handy… as someone in the vehicle graphics/ signage industry, I can tell you the hardest part would be to have everything line up correctly. If you created the model first, you could generate your graphics inside those parameters, and even make a jig or template for any other method. I’m sure a laser would still need a path to follow in 3D space (maybe… not my speciality)

Any of this helping?

yeah, thanx a ton guys! Awsome insight!

Here’s my latest proposal…

The unit’ll be wrapped with the printed Mylar film (mounted to 24pt.card-stock. There’ll be registration marks printed onto the mylar to line up with the jig for the router. There can even be a feature or two cut into the cylinder to work as an even better guide for the jig.

It’s very important to keep the mylar seams concealed on the side where all the large holes are, the branding’ll be on the big side.
How’s that sound?

Thanx gang for your help on this one. These things have been runnin’ for awhile but I wanted to give a big shout-out for the input. As you can see, the prestine graphic was what determined the overall shape of the unit. This was what the major challenge was.