Prototyping of Complex Bracket for Starting Block

Hey Fellow Engineers,

I am working on a part for a starting block for competitive swimming and it is extremely complex. I have had it quoted for stainless steel in CNC, however I just cannot afford to pay over $2,000 for a small prototype. I have heard about this technology from a friend of mine, its called DMLS or Metal Sintering. Has any of you ever used this technology, is it strong like real stainless? Is anyone aware of the costs involved, is it less than CNC? If you have used someone in the past, who was it and were you happy with the outcome? I really appreciate the help.

Shmitty!
Lane 3 Aquatics

I think you might put everyone off by calling them engineers!

I have done stainless steel laser sintered parts with shapeways.com

It is strong like stainless, it is actually bronze infused stainless steel. Solid metal.

The finish is a bit rough but very acceptable.

The metal for my parts lightly oxidized in sea water.

Laser sintering is perfect for complex parts, there are a few design guidelines to follow, details are on the sintering sites.

Good luck!

I used DMLS a couple years ago for a small part with… it was a very nice prototype and fun to use, but expensive. A starting block sounds kind of big, which might make it VERY expensive. Maybe prices have changed since my experience though

You might want to look into off-shoring the CNC work to somewhere that machine time and labor is less expensive. There are several very good Chinese/Taiwanese firms that can CNC parts cheaper than domestic SLA parts would cost (you know, depending on the complexity of course…). Even companies like ARRK will offshore CNC work to make the prices affordable

The metal for my parts lightly oxidized in sea water.

Chlorine is another notorious “corroder” of alloyed metals … including stain-resistant steel. (It ain’t really stainless; it still rusts, that’s why they call it stainless)

You can call me engineer, but don’t call me late for supper… … .