How to choose the best online CNC machine shop
Sourcing professionals, engineers, and designers alike need to have parts produced through technologies like CNC machining, turning, and milling. In development, the requirements may be loose to get a product validated. And in production, the expectation is that parts are made consistently, on time, and to specifications. But it is sometimes difficult to navigate through all the Internet searches and buzzwords to determine the best fit for your needs. Greg Paulsen from Xometry provides a useful guide on what to look for when selecting a machine shop.
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Hinge Selection Guide online app
The super-helpful Hinge Selection Guide online app from Reell Precision Manufacturing introduces a user-friendly resource to pinpoint ideal hinge and torque insert product solutions matching application requirements. This easily accessible tool opens an interactive window to designate an application's parameters, calculate the torque and rotational angle required for the hinge or torque insert, and ultimately identify the Reell products best suited for the job. The tool also enables users to access Reell's standard catalog products.
Click here to learn more.
How to choose an anti-backlash lead screw nut
Lead screws are the norm for today's linear motion applications, but despite their advantages over competing technologies (i.e., affordability, precision, the ability to design with freedom, reduced maintenance, etc.), lead screw systems do have a certain amount of "play." An important design consideration for utilizing a lead screw is the amount of backlash your system can tolerate and still achieve its goal. The big question is: Which lead screw nut will help you in the battle against backlash? By Christopher Nook, Helix Linear Technologies
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First semi-transparent polyamide good for car interior lighting
The BASF product Ultramid Vision has been used in a car interior for the first time. The semi-crystalline polyamide is employed in the window regulator module of a German automobile manufacturer. Compared to opaque standard polyamides, Ultramid Vision displays very high light transmission with low light scattering, which makes it a perfect choice for use with the illuminated symbols on the window regulators and for setting the exterior mirrors. The requirement was to allow as much light to pass through as possible, with high color fidelity.
Spinning flare nuts eliminate loose fasteners in thin metal sheet applications
PEM SFN spinning flare nuts from Penn-Engineering become permanently captivated upon installation in thin metal sheets and, when paired with a self-clinching stud or other fixed externally threaded hardware, can eliminate all loose fasteners (including flange nuts) in attachment applications. These one-piece, flanged hex nuts additionally will spin freely in a sheet enabling quick attachment to mating hardware. Their use ultimately promotes savings in assembly time and costs.
New 3M metal bonding adhesive
3M Scotch-Weld Metal Bonder Acrylic Adhesive DP8407NS delivers strength, corrosion resistance, and reliable performance for bonding metal without extensive surface prep. This high-strength, fast-curing structural adhesive offers high peel and durability, and maintains its strength at temps as low as -40 F. With the ability to bond active metals like steel, copper, brass, and bronze, 3M's Metal Bonder is ideal for a wide range of assemblies in metal fabrication, transportation, specialty vehicle, architectural panels, appliances, and office furniture. It bonds plastics and composites for multi-material bonding and is also well suited for bonding metals prior to powder coating and paint processes.
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Using CAD-CAM-CNC to produce aerospace parts
DMG MORI manufactures a wide variety of conventional chip-cutting and ultrasonic machining centers for OEMs and production job shops serving the aerospace industry. On two recent applications, DMG MORI turned to long-time business partner Siemens for assistance. By offering a total package of CAD-CAM-CNC hardware, software, and engineering services, Siemens was able to help this machine builder substantially improve every aspect of part production for a reverse thrust component for a jet engine and an aerospace impeller fan.
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SOLIDWORKS 2020 is here! TriMech recaps launch and runs through best new features
SOLIDWORKS hosted a live streaming event Sept. 18 to introduce the world to SOLIDWORKS 2020. Even if you missed it, you're in luck. The incredibly knowledgeable people over at SOLIDWORKS specialist TriMech have put together a comprehensive rundown of what the new product offers, including a video highlights reel, "Top 10 New Features" infographics, and a prep guide to learn about licensing and such. Learn about all the new "almost magic" tools and enhancements.
Read the TriMech recap blog.
Springs made of high-performance, engineered plastic provide tons of options
Lee Spring's LeeP plastic composite compression springs molded from Ultem resins provide critical advantages over traditional metal alloy springs. They feature high strength-to-weight ratio, no magnetic interference, high corrosion resistance, and dielectric insulation for non-conductive applications. They are stocked in a variety of standard sizes, each available in a "rainbow" of strengths formulated from different Ultem resins. They were designed to meet a wide range of spring applications where non-corroding, non-metallic, inert materials are preferred including medical, aerospace, marine, food prep, pharmaceutical, communications, and more.
Etched and formed micro metal parts
Tech-Etch combines photochemical etching with precision metal bending to create extremely small formed features in thin metal parts. State-of-the-art techniques are used to form features down to .003" in a wide variety of metals. Parts range in thickness from .0005" and up. The result is that engineers get the freedom to design features in thin metal parts with few limitations. While providing quick turnaround and low tooling costs, photo etching produces burr-free parts with intricate and complex shapes. Prototypes can be delivered in five days.
Injection Molding: 9 tips for designing multipart assemblies
Finding creative solutions to multipart assemblies can be tricky, but fortunately there are many different ways to approach product designs that involve multiple components. To keep things cost effective and efficient, simplify your design, don't make what you can buy off the shelf, explore all of your manufacturing options, and understand the rules of each part of the process. But like most design challenges, it's not as easy as it sounds. Great info from Protolabs.
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igus ball transfer units ease move of high loads
igus has introduced new ball transfer units that allow lubrication-free and smooth transport with a dramatic increase in load-bearing capacity. Ball tables are used if delicate or heavy goods are to be transported in different directions. The ball transfer units from igus are manufactured with the high-performance plastic xirodur B180, which absorbs loads up to 500 N (112 lb). The ball transfer units are lubrication and maintenance free. They also include stainless steel balls inside the roller to allow for smooth running. Based in Germany, igus runs its North American operations out of Providence, RI.
Replace traditional fasteners: 50+ retaining ring applications
The benefits of a Rotor Clip Retaining Ring are simple: The ring is made from less material than traditional fasteners, eliminating machined shoulders, threads, cover plates, and heat-formed studs -- so you save. Using a retaining ring to fasten your assembly instead of a traditional fastener not only reduces your costs, but also saves the environment. Fewer parts and less material means cost savings for you and less waste for the planet. This quality part offers lot traceability. Want to know what you can do with a Rotor Clip Retaining Ring?
View more than 50 application examples.
Onshape includes PennEngineering PEM hardware
Onshape, a next-gen cloud CAD and data management platform that speeds up product development, has partnered with PennEngineering, a global leader in the fastening industry, to include PEM hardware as a built-in standard for its 3D CAD models. Onshape will initially include PEM brand self-clinching nuts and self-clinching standoffs, and plans to add additional PennEngineering products to its Standard Content library in the future. PEM fasteners are typically used when a component must be readily replaced and where loose nuts and hardware aren't accessible during the final assembly process. By embedding a threaded nut into a piece of metal mechanically, it saves time and reduces post-manufacturing assembly processes. This efficiency is especially important when producing large quantities of parts.
Problem-Solving Tips: Screw tightening control methods
Although the main role of screws (bolts) is fastening objects using the axial force generated from tightening in actual work, there are many people who control the torque by tightening with a torque wrench, because it is difficult to directly monitor the axial force, and so guarantee the axial force that way. However, there are other methods of control for tightening screws (bolts), such as using "elastic region tightening" and "plastic region tightening."
Read this NBK technical blog.
Breakthrough in new material to harness solar power could transform energy
The most affordable, efficient way to harness the cleanest, most abundant renewable energy source in the world is one step closer to reality.
The University of Toledo physicist pushing the performance of solar cells to levels never before reached made a significant breakthrough in the chemical formula and process to make the new material.
Working in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab, Dr. Yanfa Yan, UToledo professor of physics, envisions the ultra-high-efficiency material called a tandem perovskite solar cell will be ready to debut in full-sized solar panels in the consumer market in the near future.
Dr. Zhaoning Song holds a perovskite solar cell minimodule he developed with Dr. Yanfa Yan. The higher efficiency, lower cost solar cell technology could revolutionize energy generation around the globe.
Perovskites, compound materials with a special crystal structure formed through chemistry, would replace silicon, which -- for now -- remains the solar-cell material of choice for converting the sun's light into electrical energy.
"We are producing higher efficiency, lower cost solar cells that show great promise to help solve the world energy crisis," Yan said. "The meaningful work will help protect our planet for our children and future generations. We have a problem consuming most of the fossil energies right now, and our collaborative team is focused on refining our innovative way to clean up the mess."
The new research paper, which is published in the journal Science, outlines how the photovoltaics team is fine-tuning a mix of lead and tin to advance the technology closer to its maximum efficiency. Efforts have currently brought the efficiency of the new solar cell to about 23 percent. In comparison, silicon solar panels on the market today have around an 18 percent efficiency rating.
Scientists used a chemical compound called guanidinium thiocyanate to dramatically improve the structural and optoelectronic properties of the lead-tin mixed perovskite films.
"Science is the top academic journal in the world, alongside Nature, which published other research by Dr. Yan only five months ago after he discovered a single material that produces white light, which could boost the efficiency and appeal of LED bulbs," Dr. Sanjay Khare, professor and chair of the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy, said. "His significant sustainability work at The University of Toledo can help power the world using clean energy."
About five years ago, Yan's team at UToledo identified the ideal properties of perovskites, and he has since focused his 20 years of experience on producing an all-perovskite tandem solar cell that brings together two different solar cells to increase the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun's spectrum.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Yan a $1.1 million grant to continue his research in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Lab.
"This is the material we've been waiting for for a long time," Yan said. "The solar industry is watching and waiting. Some have already started investing in this technology."
Yan is an expert in theory of defect physics and electronic properties in semiconductors, materials synthesis, and thin-film solar-cell fabrication.
"Our UToledo research is ongoing to make cheaper and more efficient solar cells that could rival and even outperform the prevailing silicon photovoltaic technology," said Dr. Zhaoning Song, research assistant professor in the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy, and co-author on the study. "Our tandem solar cells with two layers of perovskites deliver high power-conversion efficiency and have the potential to bring down production costs of solar panels, which is an important advance in photovoltaics."
While Yan's team has improved the quality of the materials and the process to manufacture them at a low cost, more progress needs to be made.
"The material cost is low and the fabrication cost is low, but the lifetime of the material is still an unknown," Song said. "We need to continue to increase efficiency and stability."
"Also, lead is considered a toxic substance," Yan said. "I am determined to work with the solar industry to ensure solar panels made of this material can be recycled so they don't cause harm to the environment."
Source: The University of Toledo
Published May 2019
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