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Need laser cutting company, recommendations?

  1. Oct 20, 2011 #1
    Hello everyone, new to the forum. I've been planning to make a compound bow using a cad program(Pro E), and I need a good laser cutting company to fabricate my parts. The part that concerns me most is the bow riser(black, center piece with the grip) as I want it made out of one solid piece of high grade aluminum. Heres a picture so you get the idea:
    [PLAIN]http://www.fosusa.com/korean/updata/11375329060 [Broken]

    The dimensions would be about 2 ft long, 3in x 5in (at the widest parts, as I mentioned I want this in one solid piece. Problem is, most laser cutting companies I've researched are very limited when it comes to 3d printing and most seem to only do sheet metal printing with the max thickness of 1 in. I also plan to have it painted/anodized with the addition of some screw taps. If anyone could recommend me a company that can fulfill these tasks, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, I have absolutely no idea how much this may cost me. Can someone give me a ballpark of how much this kind of thing may cost? Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2011 #2
    Laser cutting is for sheet metal parts. For a one off you'd probably machine it. So get out your yellow pages for a local machine shop.

    I wouldn't have thought metal would be a good choice for a bow, something like a CF layup, but I know nothing of bows or bow design. :D Also one offs in general are expensive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011
  4. Oct 20, 2011 #3

    enigma

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    Your ballpark cost is $100 per hour. It will take a few hours to program. Having the pro e part will help there. Several hours to machine.

    To reduce costs, make sure you only require tight position (and other geometric) tolerances where they're really needed. Also, designing the part so less material needs to be cut away will reduce the machining time, and as a result, the cost.
     
  5. Oct 20, 2011 #4

    Danger

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    No argument with anything that has been said, but I have a question. Does this have to be laser-cut? My local machine shop doesn't have a laser, but they can work wonders with their plasma cutter. Water jets are hugely powerful and accurate as well. I certainly have nothing against lasers, but I just wanted to point out that other options are available and might be suitable to your purpose.
     
  6. Oct 20, 2011 #5
    Carbon fiber would be great but I just know I wouldn't be able to afford it. I was thinking of using aircraft grade aluminum as used in higher end production bows. Anything light and durable will do the trick.

    Thanks for the tip! I'm starting to realize how it would have been much cheaper for me to just buy a bow lol. I initially decided to build one to save costs. But lucky me, I enjoy building things so I should enjoy this either way. That and I already invested $110 on the bow limbs(the part that bends and stores all the energy) so I'm sort of obligated to finish. I'll keep the machining time in mind ;)


    No it doesnt have to be laser cut. It seemed to be the most efficient way, but i have no problem using other means. Gotta do more research.


    Well thanks for the advice guys! I'll look around for a good machine shop and check out my options. More tips are welcome!
     
  7. Oct 20, 2011 #6

    Danger

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    Please keep us informed as to your progress.
     
  8. Oct 20, 2011 #7

    enigma

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    When talking with machine shops, you'll do best not telling how you want it made. The machinists will be able to look at the drawing or model and depending on what machines they have available will quote you their most efficient process. If you arbitrarily say "it needs to be laser cut" or similar, you may be enforcing a more expensive operation for no reason. Give them the drawing, give them your "must haves" for size, position, etc. Ask if there are any features you have put in that abnormally difficult to machine that you may be willing or able to redesign to reduce effort and cost.

    Good luck - looks like a fun project.
     
  9. Oct 22, 2011 #8
    While on the topic of approaching machine shops, how do they feel about a customer coming to them with a CAM program (made in AlphaCAM) for the part they want?
     
  10. Oct 22, 2011 #9

    Danger

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    That is entirely dependent upon the shop. The guys in my "hood" will take anything from a CAD file to a doodle on a cocktail napkin.
     
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