How to get the parts you need from your prototype shop.

There are many choices when it comes to manufacturing parts and prototypes. Some are fast, some are good and some are cheap but no matter which you choose there are some key steps you should take and questions you should ask to ensure you get the parts you require.

The responsibility for quality is too often left entirely to the supplier and while the lion’s share does lie with them quality is not entirely one sided. In order to deliver what you need the shop you are working with needs to know what you want. It is as important for you to provide as much information as possible up front as it is for the prototype shop to perform proper checks after manufacture.

Here are some simple steps to take to make sure everyone knows what is expected and will hopefully reduce surprises when your parts arrive.

Pre order steps to take;

– Send 2D engineering drawings with critical dimensions and tolerances clearly marked.

– Indicate clearly any holes that need tapping and as far as possible stick to standard threads.

– Clearly specify surface finish and send a photo example if possible if you are not referring to an industry standard.

– Send assembly drawings if applicable or as far as possible provide information about assembly especially if there are other mating parts you might not have sent to the shop for manufacture.

– Offer as much information on fit and function as you can and feel comfortable with, the more your supplier know about the part the better they will be able to deliver.

– Be as open and upfront about what the part is, what is important and what you are looking for as possible.

– Remember the time, price, quality triangle, and try not to expect all three. As long as you are clear about your priorities the prototype shop should be able to tweak their quote to fit.

Questions to ask after manufacture and before delivery;

– Do you have a QC report you can send?

– How many parts did you check, one or all?

– Are all threads present and correct?

– Please send clear pictures of all parts, plus close ups of any suspect areas

– Can you send a video of the assembly?

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