Manufacturers are often closet inventors. People who work with machine tools frequently see ideas for retail products they could produce on these machines—if only there was a way to develop and test the market for that product. Now, Kickstarter potentially offers a way to begin. Kevin Saruwatari of manufacturing firm Qsine recently launched this Kickstarter page to test the interest in his idea for a retail product, a heatsink and enclosure for the Raspberry Pi computer.
Kickstarter is a crowdsourcing website for funding entrepreneurs. Inventors and artists promote their ideas on the site, and donors pledge large or small amounts (as small as $1) to support the ideas they like. If a project obtains the pledges needed to go forward, then the entrepreneur collects the money. If not, the backers aren’t charged.
Mr. Saruwatari hopes this test case with Kickstarter succeeds, because he aims to use this channel to develop other ideas for machined products. In the video on his Kickstarter page, he discusses the 9-axis mill-turn capability he would use to produce the enclosure. As you watch the video and consider supporting the project, perhaps you’ll also see possibilities for advancing a retail product idea you have in mind? It would be great to see machining businesses start to find new opportunities and new customers through this channel.
The portable M7000 marking gun from Propen, a Gravotech brand, aims to simplify marking workpieces on the shop floor. The micro-percussion marking system uses stylus technology to create permanent serial numbers, logos and other identifying marks on a range of materials. But in contrast to other handheld units, the M7000 has an integrated control unit with a 7" touchscreen for programming that can be used even with gloves. When equipped with the optional battery belt, the system becomes a fully mobile, all-in-one marking solution. As shown in a video on Propen’s YouTube channel, an operator wearing the belt can simply carry the handheld unit to the workpiece, program it via the touchscreen and mark the piece without using an external computer or power source.
Loc-Down units install in tapped holes in a subplate. The workpiece (shown here in gray) requires mating holes that have a machined internal groove to accommodate the units. Holding force is provided via the unit’s ball-lock mechanism.
Installing and removing conventional bolts used to secure workpieces to subplates can be time-consuming. Plus, protruding bolt heads often interfere with the cutting tool, preventing it from accessing all workpiece areas that require machining. As a result, Mitee-Bite has developed its “headless bolt” Loc-Down system so users can quickly attach and remove workpieces from subplates. Not only does this system enable faster workpiece change-overs compared to conventional bolts, but there’s less cutter interference thanks to its compact design. Learn more.
Sandvik Coromant has announced its interactive Metal Cutting Technology (MCT) e-learning program, which features 75 courses about the metalcutting process. According to Sandvik Coromant Acadamy (developers of the program), the curriculum is ideal for engineers, programmers, operators and students.
The training and education program explains the fundamentals of metal cutting and specifically teaches about internal and external turning, parting and grooving, milling, drilling, threading, boring and toolholding. The MCT e-learning program can be accessed here.
In the cover story of the latest issue of Additive Manufacturing, a researcher with Oak Ridge National Laboratory describes how additive manufacturing changes basic assumptions about the design of manufactured parts. Another article describes Ford’s use of 3D printing in sand to produce prototype casting molds. Read the digital edition. To subscribe to Additive Manufacturing, go here.