Customer Success Stories

/Customer Success Stories
15 01, 2016

Design Evolution through 3D Printing

By | 2016-12-15T14:31:02+00:00 January 15th, 2016|Customer Success Stories|0 Comments

United Tool & Die is a prominent tube, duct, and sheet metal fabricator operating in the aerospace industry. Founded in 1925 and based in West Hartford, CT, their customer base includes acclaimed aerospace leaders such as Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, and Sikorsky. UTD has flourished in the aerospace field due to an unyielding dedication towards innovation and continuous process improvement. They’ve recently implemented 3D printing as a primary method for producing functional jigs, machining fixtures, and positioning dies. Francis “Skip” Charest, UTD’s Process/Tooling Engineer understands the challenges faced in this industry, particularly the increasing demand for tighter tolerances on final parts. UTD has always relied on tooling fixtures to support processes and to ensure these tighter tolerances are met. In the past, they’ve used traditional fixtures made from aluminum, magnesium, and stainless steal. However there are significant expenses associated with metal fixtures, including high production costs and substantial lead times. Through 3D Printing, Skip and his team have drastically reduced tooling costs. Their two Stratasys 3D printers allow them to generate durable fixtures in ABS+ thermoplastics. When UTD purchased their first printer, the U-Print SE, Skip initially had the intention of creating simple chanel fixtures to control handling damage. However after becoming familiar with the technology, Skip realized there was virtually no limit to the design freedom, and that it was possible to create designs for a wide spectrum of uses, including forming dies, check fixtures, machining fixtures, and even wire EDM fixtures. UTD eventually added a Dimension 1200 to their arsenal in order to keep pace with increasing capacity and to satisfy the need for a larger build envelope. The design freedom and ability for 3D fixtures to conform to complex geometries also opened up a new market for UTD, one focusing on short-run experimental jobs that were once cost prohibitive. Tools are now lighter and easier for workers to handle, which has increased overall productivity on the shop floor. In some cases, 3D fixtures have even eliminated certain steps in an assembly process, resulting in shorter lead times. As the technology evolves, Skip and his team continue to contrive new and innovative designs that helps them maintain a level of competitiveness necessary to thrive in the aerospace industry. Experimental job - Machining fixture with an 
actual 3D print of the part, providing a visualization of the part before it was produced. Fixture holds part at the proper angle allowing for simple machining with an end mill. “Doing a fixture like this out of metal would be either next to impossible or very expensive”. -Skip Charest UTD has taken advantage of Cimquest’s service contract for maintenance on their 3D printers. “We have received nothing but great support from Cimquest. As soon as I call, they have a gentleman here within 24 hours servicing and fixing the machine. If we didn’t have any type of service contract, we wouldn’t have the quick response time, and it would cost us all the money for travel and replacement parts”. [...]

21 12, 2015

3D Printing Architectural Models Reduces Time & Cost

By | 2016-12-15T14:31:03+00:00 December 21st, 2015|3D Printing / Additive Mfg, Customer Success Stories, Stratasys|0 Comments

KMCA is a model making company based in New Haven, CT. Founded in 1988, they produce models for some of the world’s leading architectural and industrial design firms. Their primary focus is commercial office complexes, however they support a variety of building types ranging from churches to university centers. KMCA’s traditional methods of production include 3 Axis CNC machining and laser cutting, which operate in conjunction with manual assembly techniques. While these machining methods are advanced and effective, they can also be time consuming and costly. Through conventional methods, there is also a limit to the design freedom, especially for units with complicated geometry. Due to these constraints, KMCA has turned to 3D printing as an additional tool for production. Additive manufacturing was not a completely foreign concept for KMCA. In the past, they’ve outsourced 3D printing for intricate parts that make up the designs of advanced models. However after seeing the exceptional capabilities and opportunities of the technology, they decided to aquire their own Stratasys printers. Since then, the printers have yielded great benefits on numerous projects, including models for a commercial development in the new CityCenter of Washington DC. KMCA was tasked with fabricating large scale models of 900 New York Avenue at CityCenterDC using traditional stick construction. Skilled craftsmen built these models using tens of thousands of components each. But the developer also wanted a smaller scale model of each building that the sales team could use to motivate prospective tenants to visit the design centers. Ken Champlin, president and founder of KMCA, presented two alternative approaches to building the scaled models. The first approach was to use stick construction. It would have taken about eight weeks and cost about $20,000 to use this method to build a smaller model. Champlin recommended instead using 3D printing to produce the majority of the model as a single piece. This approach made it possible to provide a high level of detail while eliminating the time and cost involved in producing and assembling most of the individual components. Ken states,“If we were to try and make this in a conventional shop fashion, it would be cost prohibitive. Through 3D printing, we were able to provide a beautiful model at a very reasonable price.” Since the implementation of 3D Printing, KMCA has experienced immense cost savings which have increased their overall competitiveness. The technology is a great compliment to their traditional methods and they continue to find innovative ways to improve processes. "The Fortus 250’s have been real workhorses and have enabled us to produce things geometrically that would not be possible in a conventional model shop.The support from Cimquest has been fantastic. They’ve kept us up to speed on all of the new innovations that are being released." - Ken Champlin, founder of KMCA Download the case study pdf by clicking on the image to the left. To see more customer success stories, please click the button below. More Success Stories  

14 12, 2015

Drastically Reducing Programming Time

By | 2016-12-15T14:31:04+00:00 December 14th, 2015|Customer Success Stories|0 Comments

Foremost Manufacturing was founded in 1957 and is a premier supplier of reflectors, housing, and assembly services for the lighting industry. Foremost Mfg has been working with Cimquest for well over 10 years and with their help have been drastically reducing programming time. They take advantage of the events that Cimquest puts on to announce new product releases and finds them to be a great resource for learning new tips and tricks. They also watch the Two Minute Tuesday series every week where they pick up lots of useful information. When the time comes that they have a problem, they know that the engineers at Cimquest are only a phone call away. In some cases the applications engineers at Cimquest were able to use GoToMeeting to take control over their computers and quickly solve any problems. In 2007, Foremost purchased an ABB Robot because they started to get more quotes with intricate parts. These parts would normally have taken them days to program and, on some parts, they couldn’t even program them at all. They needed the help of a new software program and Robotmaster was their answer. It was at one of the Cimquest Open Houses where they first learned about Robotmaster and after getting a demonstration they realized the benefits it could bring. Robotmaster has cut the programming time on some of their jobs from 5 or 6 hours down to one hour or less. They have also recently purchased a Thermwood 5-axis router as a secondary machine to handle some of the work that was being backed up. Foremost likes the idea that they can program the parts in Mastercam and later decide if they will send them to be cut on the Robot or on the Thermwood router. It’s very easy to go back and fourth between the two machines with the software and this offers them great flexibility. With Mastercam and Robotmaster, Foremost can now quote jobs that they couldn’t quote before. They say that these two products have cut down their programming time drastically. To download the case study pdf, please click on the image to the left. To view more customer success stories, please click the button below. More Success Stories

9 11, 2015

Overcoming Challenges With New Product Development

By | 2016-12-15T14:31:05+00:00 November 9th, 2015|Customer Success Stories|0 Comments

Phillips Precision is a Cimquest customer in Boylston, MA. They are a machine shop that specializes in prototypes and light production. One of their specialties is new product development that addresses various problems. Six years ago they bought their first CMM (coordinate measuring machine). After the equipment was delivered and placed on their shop floor their first challenge was holding the parts down on the granite table. They didn’t know how to hold the parts down efficiently and after trying glue and double-sided tape they realized that they needed a better solution – a grid plate with threaded holes. They begin to design and make their own grid plates and then began selling them to other companies, but they soon identified that there was still a big problem with the way the inspectors were getting work through their inspection department. This was still not the most efficient way to get the job done. They went back to the drawing board and brainstormed new ideas. They developed a rail system where individual work plates could be plugged into the CMM. They designed different types of clamps and then go right over to their 3D printer and print the designed clamp. From there they would go to their Mastercam station, program the part, and send the file to the CNC machine wirelessly with their Cimco wireless router. The whole system worked seamlessly for them. With control over their entire production cycle they are able to keep producing new products. When the economy took a turn for the worse in 2008 and most shops were struggling, Phillips Precision was developing and making their own products and creating their own business. To download the case study pdf, please click on the image to the left. To see more customer success stories, please click the button below. More Success Stories  

3 11, 2015

Customer Spotlight: CPI Aero

By | 2016-12-15T14:31:05+00:00 November 3rd, 2015|3D Printing / Additive Mfg, Customer Success Stories, Stratasys|0 Comments

CPI Aero is a Cimquest customer that manufactures aircraft assemblies. They started doing military work directly for the government, built a good reputation for themselves, and now they have recently branched off into commercial work. Daniel Gray, their program engineer, explains how 3D printing cut their lead time on most projects from months to hours. They can now take a complicated contour surface from the computer screen and bring it right into their hands in a relatively short timeframe. For some of the tools with very complicated contours (but limited in size) that they can 3D print, they have seen cost savings in the range of 80 - 90% versus quotes from local machine shops. They are using the Stratasys Fortus 360mc and feel that the Insight software that Stsratasys provides is extremely intuitive. Daniel feels that with any CAD experience at all behind you, Insight is very easy to pick up. Daniel explains how working with Cimquest has been seamless for him, from start of contract straight through training of both hardware and software. In only 6 months they have gone from buying things to printing their own. In as many cases as possible they are using 3D printed pieces as less expensive alternatives to very complicated and therefore expensive assembly tools.  To download the case study pdf, please click the image to the left. To view more case studies, please click the button below. More Success Stories

12 06, 2015

Cimquest Customer Success – Gil Machine & Tool

By | 2016-12-15T14:31:08+00:00 June 12th, 2015|Customer Success Stories|0 Comments

Gil Machine is a Cimquest customer in Eastern PA and their owner, Al Gil, often recommends Mastercam to other shops. He finds it invaluable to his business and couldn’t imagine operating without it. Mastercam helps him visualize his entire project so that the toolpaths are perfect every time allowing him to make superior products, quickly. The day we visited, Al performed a roughing test with some GW Shultz end mills to measure the speeds of how quickly they could ramp into parts and remove material using Mastercam’s Dynamic Motion toolpaths. His test included ramps at 5 degrees, 10, 20, 30 and 40 degrees. He was very impressed with the 40 degree ramping and surprised at the clean finish of the end part. Gil Machine is also using Mastercam Lathe for their turning jobs. Al feels that Mastercam is the answer to making the more complicated or tighter tolerance parts. Not only does it offer the Dynamic toolpaths to get roughing done quickly, but it also offers “bread and butter” toolpaths that you can experiment with in a timely manner. It’s very easy to make changes, repost, and get back to the machine and run. He’s done extensive testing of the Dynamic toolpaths and cut many different materials including plastics, steels, titanium – you name it, he’s cut it and has experienced quality results. Al also utilizes 3D printing in his business mostly to build fixtures. Instead of taking extensive time to make a complicated fixture, he now just quickly prints it. Printing even a simple fixture can save him hours of machining time and cost. Al feels that Cimquest excels at providing their customers not only with great support, but also with new and better ways of doing things. He loves having a trusted resource who informs him of the newest technologies, ensuring that his shop stays competitive over the years.  To download the case study pdf, please click on the image to the left. To see more success stories, please click the button below. More Success Stories

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