Rapid Sheet Metal Prototypes
Prototype Sheet Metal fabrications are often required by engineers and new product developers before commencing production. And these prototypes are needed fast! A new breed of sheetmetal shops specializing in prototype fabrications has sprung up to meet this quick-turn demand.
A Prototype SheetMetal shop should exclusively fabricate prototype and time sensitive short run sheet metal parts. Prototype and production quantities are like oil and water, and the best sheetmetal shops focus on what they do well. Quotes should be turned around in 24 to 48 hours and parts in 1 to 2 weeks. An expedite program for emergency situations is mandatory. The ability to build exclusively from 3D CAD data and not require 2D drawings is a must. So that expensive and long-lead time tooling is avoided, a prototype sheet metal shop should have a laser.
With this information in mind, when selecting a supplier to provide you with prototype sheet metal fabrications, the buyer is advised to ask the following questions:
- What is the typical time for a quote to be turned around?
- What is the typical time for prototype parts to ship?
- Can you take in 3D CAD files, and quote and fabricate to them?
- Do you support JIT and KANBAN programs?
If the answers match the specifications above, you have found a shop who most likely can meet your prototype sheet metal requirements.
Types of Materials commonly used:
- Aluminum (up to .250" material thickness)
- Cold Rolled Steel (up to .250" material thickness)
- Stainless Steel (up to .187" material thickness)
- Galvaneal & Galvinized CRS (up to .134" material thickness)
- Copper (up to .250" material thickness)
Types of Parts commonly made:
- SheetMetal Enclosures
- Sheet Metal Assemblies
- Copper Busbars/ Bus Bars
- 19" Racks
- Sheetmetal Brackets
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