Category Archives: flat aluminum parts

Re: Treat your machine/pcb/acrylic/laser shop professionally

Update: 9/25/2010 to

Good comment from mo – spread the love around. I want to point out that the relationship with your machine/PCB/acrylic/wood shop can be challenging! It’s important but not necessarily easy!

If you can’t meet in person it’s tougher to build repertoire over email or telephone, no matter how charismatic you are. And though I’m usually close to my email, people in shops are on tools and machines most of the time. A phone call is a lot quicker and more personal, but conversations on the phone often lead to miscommunications and frustration. What’s worked for me is talking on the phone, and then summarizing in a follow-up email immediately afterwards. Other points of friction I’ve found are in file formats (I was in Bangalore, India, bouncing between coffee shops and I just couldn’t get the right program in order) and computer use  (for instance a shop that insists on printed 2D drawings of a nice 3D CAD file you struggled to put together…), and one guy that always returned calls around a week later.

Experience says: lavishly praise shops you come across when everything goes smoothly.

Right now: I’m working with a shop called OharaRP (out of Dayton, Ohio) on a PCB board and they kick ass!


Cutting flat aluminum parts

If you think I’m making a lot of posts over the past week, it’s true! I took 2 weeks off of my day job and have been able to get a lot done on OpenPCR. Back to my day job on Monday :\

We are prototyping 3 1/8″ flat aluminum parts for OpenPCR:

1. ~ 2″ square plate, with holes for 2 screws for the heated lid. Our prototype heated lid involves a peltier, aluminum plate, and thermal pad

2. ~ 4.25″ square plate for mounting the heat sink and aluminum heat block to one surface. This needs holes for the aluminum block and screw holes for mounting the aluminum block and heat sink.

3. 4 cm square square plate to serve as an “adapter” between smaller heat sinks and the peltier. This might not be necessary if we go with a larger heatsink, though the trade off would be the entire case is about 1″ bigger to accommodate the heatsink.

Designing the part and drawing squares in Illustrator? Easy!

Unlike software, when you want to test a design you get out your wallet. I’m addicted to “Just hit ‘Preview’ or ‘Compile’ and I’ll be done!”. I’m so thankful for the support that we’re receiving from everyone on Kickstarter!

I looked around locally and online  for a shop to make the test pieces. Local prototyping didn’t move as quickly as I had hoped, I still haven’t heard back from the guy I started talking to a week ago. Prototyping shops are pretty pricey, I found rates of about $100 per part. With flat pieces cut from a sheet, Ponoko was the best deal because I could fit a whole slew of parts on one sheet. In about 15 days I expect to receive the flat aluminum parts from Ponoko in New Zealand, hopefully right around the time I receive the new laser cut wooden case. (Ponoko says they’ll have aluminum cutting live in the USA in a month).

Got a lot of things moving over the past 2 weeks! Over and out :)