By Protomold – Nobody’s Faster In The Short Run.®
No, it’s not about Proto Labs’ expansion or our big new headquarters. This is “big” that you can use. The new presses and mold handling equipment for plastics we’ve been telling you about are now in place, and that means just one thing: bigger parts.
Our new capabilities are as follows:
- The maximum Protomold part XY area has been expanded to up to 13.5″ by 30.5″, with a maximum projected mold area of 175 square inches and a maximum part volume of 59 cubic inches. This is a huge increase over our former size limitations, so if you’ve had us “no-quote” your project before, feel free to upload your CAD model again just to see if we can do it now. If we can, we’ll send you an interactive ProtoQuote® including a free moldability analysis.
- Side action cams, fully withdrawn, must fit within the maximum outline area.
- Maximum projected mold area of the part (the shadow a part would cast) can be up to 175 square inches.
- Maximum part volume can be up to 59 cubic inches.
- Faces must be drafted 1° for each inch of part height (mold depth) from the parting line, with a minimum draft of 0.5° for most faces.
- Maximum height of the part from the parting line is still 3 inches. This means that a part can be up to 6 inches high if the parting line can pass through the middle of the part, both inside and out.
These limits are general guidelines. Final determination is based on the individual CAD model. Upload your model to ProtoQuote for a free, next-day price quote and design analysis.
We can still configure up to four side-action cams per mold, but the maximum individual cam stroke (depth to which the cam can travel) has been increased from 1.73 inches to 2.9 inches.
Fact: Three years ago, the computer system now managing our manufacturing and online quoting would have been one of the world’s 500 fastest computer systems. Less than 10 years ago, it would have been the fastest in the world! Today, it is still the largest in the plastics industry.
The Proto Labs computer cluster is currently composed of 64 Intel Core-2 Quad processors and 68 Intel Core-2 Dual processors and can operate at 1.9 teraflops (trillion floating point operations per second). The cluster operating system is Windows-64, processors are linked with gigabit Ethernet, and the system has 256 gigabytes of main memory and five terabytes of disk storage. So go ahead, send us your CAD models. We’ll be happy to respond with a fast, free quote and design analysis.
Big News from First Cut Prototype
Eight New Mills
With eight new mills on the production floor, FCP now has 24 operating mills at our Maple Plain, Minnesota facility.
Additional Materials Available
We’re not just making more parts; we’re making them out of more kinds of material as well. You can see the complete materials list at firstcut.com, but recently added materials include Ultem, GF Ultem, PVC, CPVC, and PEEK. (Note that FCP can machine some materials that Protomold cannot injection-mold, and Protomold can injection-mold some materials that FCP cannot machine, so if one of our divisions can’t meet your need, the other one may.)
Thicker Material Stock
Maximum part size at FCP is still 10 inches by 7 inches by 3 inches thick. In the past, thickness has been limited by the availability of milling stock in some materials. We have now found sources for thicker stock in materials like translucent polycarbonate, clear polycarbonate, and 30% glass filled nylon. Upload your CAD model to FirstQuote to check availability of the material of your choice.
First Cut Prototype Now in Telford, England
First Cut Prototype is now in full operation in Telford, England with 10 CNC milling machines and 16,000 square feet of available space in which to grow.
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