Historically, manufacturing and fabrication has been expensive, time consuming, and generally only feasible to big-budget, large scale industrials. The costs to take a product from ideation through prototyping and into a consumer product relegated the process to be something that needed deep pockets, or an insatiable belief in a product.
The advent of Digital Fabrication techniques starting with CAD/CAM and including CNC Machining, 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, and robotics has knocked down this barrier and induced a transformational shift in our ability to innovate and produce new ideas.
The IoT Design Shop could not have existed 10 years ago, maybe not even 5 years ago. However, today, we are able to utilize a wide array of low cost, digital fabrication machines and techniques to innovate on electronics, form factors, and manufacturing at a speed that rivals software development. We believe this opportunity is transformational for our shop, and our clients.
CAD and CAM
Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and Computer Assited Manufacturing (CAM) have been around for a few decades now, and are the beneficiaries of many, many revisions and innovations from companies such as Autodesk, SolidWorks, and PTC.
However, the software has not always been accessible to the layperson or budding designer. Software packages such as Autodesk Fusion 360 are essentially free, and rival the best CAD and CAM solutions ever produced.
We leverage Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Inventor HSM as our in-house CAD and CAM packages at the IoT Design Shop. These solutions provide a complete seamless design-to-manufacture process allowing us to render parts on our CNC machines and 3D Printers in the shop.
Short Run Manufacturing
Our machines at the IoT Design Shop are some of the hardest working digital fabrication devices on the planet. Every day, we have a variety of parts and products being produced including things like:
- Plastic Parts – Enclosures, form factors, and mechanicals for different devices in production. These range from things like custom enclosures for sensor mounting to plastic components for customer’s products such as electric vehicles. We leverage 3D Printing and CNC Machining for these parts and can do short run production into the hundreds of units on site.
- Aluminum – Hybrid designs involving CNC machined aluminum parts, as well as off-the-shelf extrusions and fasteners allow us to quickly create strong, rigid forms for larger structures, chassis, and gantries for automated devices and electronics assemblies.
- Printed Circuit Boards (PCB’s) – We have optimized techniques for creating one-off PCB prototypes using our CNC machines. This allows us to create rapid prototypes of electronic designs that are also robust enough to be field deployable as components, and to iterate these designs in a matter of hours.