Category Archives: Prototyping

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How Custom Fasteners are Made

When companies in industries from agriculture to shipping need standard fasteners, they have plenty of options for purchasing them. But when a special part is needed, only a company that focuses on delivering custom fasteners will ensure a quick turnaround and superior product. At Chicago Nut & Bolt, custom work is what we do, and our custom fasteners can be made to any specifications in a timely manner that has impressed our clients for 20 years.

Despite the complex parts we have been able to produce during the past two decades, our process is simple. It begins when a client sends a blueprint for a part, which might be anything from a custom screw for a century-old bridge to a 6-ft. bolt for a crane. Based on the blueprint and specifications for features like a particular grade of steel or type of plating, we typically provide a quote within 24 hours. That’s our goal, and it’s an industry-leading turnaround.

Once we send the quote and it becomes an order, we coordinate with the manufacturers handling the multiple aspects of production that go into developing a custom order. Next, we continue to the vital step of quality control. During this testing phase, our experts check 30, 60 or even more dimensions, verifying them within a tolerance range. Only after all quality measures have been approved do we package the order. Along with the parts, we send certification that all material grade and strength properties have been met. Everything needed is shipped to the customer, but we also offer warehousing. That means, our customers have the option of making large orders and asking for their certified parts as needed.

There is a lot that goes into making custom fasteners, but because we have been doing precisely that for 20 years, we have a tested, step-by-step process that enables us to offer the quickest turnaround in the market.

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Choosing the Right Fastener Supplier for Rapid Prototyping

You’ve just had a new design approved to move on to the next stage – prototyping. That’s good news, right?

The only issue? Your first iteration is due in a short amount of time and you don’t know where to source the pieces from.

Choosing the Right Supplier

Finding the right supplier can be difficult under normal circumstances, let alone when you’re on a time crunch. If you’ve never had to source products before, the first things to keep in mind are your physical product needs, budget, the scale of your project, reliability of the supplier, and time constraints.

Once you have all of these factors figured out, you can either look for suppliers that meet your criteria, or put out a Request for Proposals. Once you have received a handful of bids, consider which ones will best meet your requirements. If you have some contenders that can’t meet your deadline or require a minimum product order that’s above what you need, put those to the side and focus on the others.

What to Look for in a Fastener Supplier

Since special fasteners are present in just about every product imaginable, there’s a good chance you’ll need at least a few in your prototype to hold everything together.

When choosing a fastener supplier for a rapid prototyping project, look for companies that stock blanks in a wide variety of styles and sizes. These can be customized depending on your needs.

You should also look for manufacturers and/or distributors that not only carry a large inventory of options, but additionally have the ability to design customized fasteners just in case your project ends up needing something more precise.

How We Support Rapid Prototyping

At Chicago Nut & Bolt, our fastener prototypes take your specifications for geometry, joint design, and structure into account to come up with the right configuration for your prototypes. Our specialists can even take a look at your application demands and physical requirements to help determine the right material for your project.

Request a quote for your project to see how we can help you.

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Is Manufacturing on the Cusp of a 3D Printing Revolution?

Some people are describing it as the catalyst for the next Industrial Revolution. Others are predicting it will one day become so commonplace that it can be found in a home. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more businesses are paying close attention to the emergence of 3D printing.

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is one of the newest and latest technologies to affect the manufacturing industry. According to this article, 3D printing allows for “designers and engineers to imagine, computer-model, and build objects within hours…objects are built from scratch, layer by layer, with no wasted materials.” Due to this technology, the manufacturing process is aimed to change dramatically.

Already, we are beginning to see how 3D printing is being incorporated into the industry. We certainly feel as if manufacturing is on the cusp of a 3D printing explosion, and we do believe that it is going to be the future of manufacturing and industry. But how will it directly affect our company and our business of custom fasteners? To start, we think the additive technology will make the machining process much smoother and it will be used with a wide range of materials. Not only do we believe that at some point in the future we will be using 3D printing to produce fasteners, but we also believe it will be incredibly useful when it comes to prototyping, especially in rapid prototyping. As a company that does a fair amount of prototype work, we can see how 3D printing can revolutionize the process.

While we are not investing in 3D printing at the moment, we are certainly aware of its potential and we’re watching its progress in the industry. We’re excited to see what comes next!

The Process of Prototyping through Production

As leaders in the manufacturing of custom fasteners, we make it a priority to provide our customers with solutions to every need, for any application. What this often means is that we will work closely with our clients from prototyping through production, maintaining close contact and answering all needs along the way.

In our business, it’s quite common for an engineer to want/need a prototyped product before beginning a full production run. The benefits of prototyping include the ability to provide a custom, initial product very quickly, meeting any time-crunch demands—we stock blanks in a variety of styles and sizes.Prototyping

It all begins with an initial blueprint created by our team, specific to a client’s requests. We provide assistance and expert guidance, while listening carefully to goals, concerns, and needs. We then create 50-100 prototype parts, which then undergo testing. We test the form, fit, and function of the prototypes, paying close attention to dimensions and tolerances, making sure they work as intended and particular grade requirements are met. Oftentimes, there will be many changes along the way, going through multiple phases of prototyping until it’s just right.

Once the prototype is approved and meets all requirements, we then move on to production. Often, the production run is very different than the original prototype, which makes the prototyping an important means of reaching desired results. The process ends with a production run that is highly efficient, having determined the best designs, features, and methods throughout the process. All along the way, it’s typical for the customer to be involved in every aspect.

In the end, the result is a quality product that is exactly what it should be, made effectively and precisely, with cost-efficiency in mind.