Designcraft News

2018.7.25

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Struggling with Surfacing?

If you're struggling with solidifying your model's complicated surface geometry so you can proceed with prototyping, STOP! Our Engineers are surfacing experts and have an arsenal of the right tools and experience to help resolve many complex surfacing issues quickly and efficiently.

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Meddling with Mechanisms?

Whether you want it to stand up, snap closed, rotate, or spring back, we can help you achieve production-like mechanical functionality within your prototyping timeline. We can fine tune your completed mechanism, finish something that is in-progress, or develop your desired functions from scratch.

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Need a Light?

Designcraft frequently adds LED lighting to models in order to achieve a wide variety of effects. The power switch can often be incorporated into an existing button in your design or concealed completely. We have experience programming custom color patterns, creating faux illuminated displays, and finished products that light up via remote control!

Our Engineers do a lot more than setup your files for 3D printing and CNC machining. They are adept and nimble at solving a variety of engineering challenges that, while exotic to some, are every day challenges at Designcraft. Take advantage of this valuable resource you can use to streamline your product development process!

Have a project you'd like to discuss with us? Contact us today!

Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn.

Designcraft News

2018.6.20

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Mark Gardner (second from left), with other members of the cast and crew of Peter Pan

Yo-ho-ho, and a Bottle of... Paint?

Crystal Lake High School's production of Peter Pan won the award for Best Scenic Design at the 2018 Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards earlier this month! The sets for Peter Pan were designed and scenically enhanced by Designcraft's very own Mark Gardner, one of our Senior Model Makers. Built by a dedicated team of volunteers under Mark's direction, some of the set's highlights were the Lost Boys' secret underground home, and a spectacular pirate ship, complete with burning (faux) torches!

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Before coming to Designcraft, Mark worked for 9 years as a scenic artist at Universal Studios, Florida. Over the last 13 years Mark has contributed his scenic design and construction talents to many high school and church stage productions. Often forced to work within minimal budgets, many of Mark's scenic marvels rely heavily on his creative repurposing of salvaged items, his skills as a Model Maker, and his outstanding talents as an airbrush artist.

Congratulations to Mark, and the entire cast and crew of Peter Pan, for creating an outstanding production!

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Does Your Robot Stack Up?

Lake Zurich High School's Robotics club, Bearbotics, just wrapped up their 10th season in the First Robotics Competition. This year's challenge, an 8-bit video game themed head-to-head competition titled "Power Up", challenged the teams to develop an autonomous robot capable of stacking boxes on a series of obstacles. Sound easy? They only have 6 weeks to do it!

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For the last 8 years Designcraft has been proud to sponsor this dedicated group of students. Designcraft's involvement is lead by our Director of Operations, Casey Stahl. Drawing on his background in Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering, Casey assists the team with his expertise and guidance during the team's intense, annual, 6-week build season. The team's 2018 robot, Smokey X, has several components that were fabricated by Designcraft, including the large, CNC machined, HDPE gears that can be seen in the pictures above.

At the end of every season the team brings their robot into Designcraft for a live demonstration. Our team of Engineers, Model Makers, and Machinists are always astounded by the bright, creative students, and the level of passion they bring to the competition. Way to go, Bearbotics!!

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What Will Your Prototyping Needs be this Summer?

Especially in the Midwest, we wait through the dismal winter months longing for summer. Now that it's here, don't let your designs take a vacation! In addition to replenishing your vitamin D levels, summer could be the perfect time to:

  • Start developing the color palette for next year's product line
  • Try some new CFM's on your existing product
  • Create some form studies for that project that keeps getting pushed back
  • Resurrect that pet project that you've been too busy to make progress on

Don't let your projects fall behind this summer! Designcraft will help you get a jumpstart on your competition.

Have a project you'd like to discuss with us? Contact us today!

Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn.

Designcraft News

2018.5.17

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Not Rendered, Real

No 3D rendering software compares to the experience of getting to actually evaluate the physical characteristics of your design. When you get to the prototyping stage in your design process, choosing a partner who prides themselves in their attention to every last detail becomes very important.

Printed graphics, exotic material combinations, and expressive CFM explorations partnered with the highest standards of execution will ensure your project is met with "WOWs!" at your next design review.

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The Devil is in the Details

Subtle details and the seamless incorporation of production components often make a model indistinguishable from the real thing. Some components we commonly include in tech models are:

  • Tactile switches, to make the buttons really "click"
  • Convincingly detailed faux camera and flash assemblies
  • USB, HDMI, and audio connectors
  • Acoustic mesh behind speaker and mic details
  • Contrasting blacks to mimic IR sensors behind lenses
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But Weight, There's More...

That's right, weight! Accurate weight and center of mass can have a substantial impact on the reaction to your model. When you choose Designcraft as your model making partner, you can rest assured that your model's weight will be accurate, your color and material matches will be precise, and your model's quality will often exceed that of production. It's our goal to make you say "WOW!" with every project.

Designcraft is ready for your challenge!

Have a project you'd like to discuss with us? Contact us today!

Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn.

Designcraft News

2018.4.19

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NEW! 5-Axis Machining Capability

Designcraft is proud to announce the addition of 5-Axis machining capabilities to our broad range of high speed milling and turning services!   

While conventional machining centers move in the X, Y and Z axes, 5-Axis machining centers can move in two additional rotary axes. The rotary axes allow the cutting tool to tilt with respect to the part which will allow it to follow a contoured surface much more accurately.

Being 5-Axis capable allows us to do more with less. We are able to reach the majority of the necessary features to be machined in a single setup. Reducing the number of setup operations allows us to produce parts faster, more accurately and more cost effectively. This translates to direct savings for our customers!

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Visit With Us at the Design-2-Part Show

Visit Designcraft at Booth #437 at the Greater Chicago Design-2-Part Show May 9-10 at the Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, IL. Don't miss an opportunity to see the latest in manufacturing technology at what has been described as the region's largest Contract Manufacturing Trade Show. While you're there, be sure to take a moment to meet our Team members and learn how Designcraft's prototyping, model making, and product development services can benefit your Team.

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Have Production Parts That Need Customizing?

  • Custom painting of raw parts out of a mold, or changing the color of a product
  • Custom finishes that mimic Mold-Tech, VDI, or SPI textures
  • Adding custom graphics, logos, and other cosmetic details
  • Machining or modifying revised features on existing parts

Have a project you'd like to discuss with us? Contact us today!

Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn.

Designcraft News

2018.1.19

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Are you ready for the Year of the Dog?

The Chinese New Year celebration (also called Spring Festival) is the longest holiday on the Chinese calendar, and will take place this February 15-21. Don't end up in the doghouse! If you are currently using an overseas supplier they may not be able to fulfill your needs during this annual festival.

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In the Year of the Dog, we're a Designer's best friend.

Whether your model needs a single-color paint job for evaluating form, a mechanism developed to enhance user-experience, or a sophisticated combination of colors, textures, materials and graphics, we are equipped to deliver challenging projects within aggressive timeframes. Let Designcraft show you why you don't need to go to an overseas supplier in order to get the quality and timing you need for your high quality visual models and precision prototypes.

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We're here. We're ready..

At Designcraft, we are eager to demonstrate the value we can bring to your product development process. Take this opportunity to experience how we can fulfill your model making and prototyping needs through our personal attention to detail, our exceptional communication, and our convenient Midwest location.

Have a project you'd like to discuss with us? Contact us today!

Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn.

Designcraft News

2017.10.19

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Make Designcraft Your Source for Trade Show Quality Models + Prototypes

Is your company planning to participate in CES, NAMM, IHA, NeoCon, or any other prestigious industry Trade Shows in 2018? Designcraft creates models and prototypes that will draw attention to your product and excite your customers. Specializing in far more than just static presentation models, we can also incorporate electronics, lighting effects, kinetic mechanisms and more!

It is also never too early to start thinking about your end-of-year prototyping needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

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Have You Been to the Brand New Designcraft.com?

Earlier this month Designcraft unveiled a completely redesigned website. If you haven't already, come explore the variety of Model Making, Prototyping, and Rapid Manufacturing services we offer. We bet you'll discover a service that you didn't know we offer!

Follow us on LinkedIn!

Designcraft News

2017.10.19

news-pic101917a.jpg

Make Designcraft Your Source for Trade Show Quality Models + Prototypes

Is your company planning to participate in CES, NAMM, IHA, NeoCon, or any other prestigious industry Trade Shows in 2018? Designcraft creates models and prototypes that will draw attention to your product and excite your customers. Specializing in far more than just static presentation models, we can also incorporate electronics, lighting effects, kinetic mechanisms and more!

It is also never too early to start thinking about your end-of-year prototyping needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

news-pic101917b.jpg

Have You Been to the Brand New Designcraft.com?

Earlier this month Designcraft unveiled a completely redesigned website. If you haven't already, come explore the variety of Model Making, Prototyping, and Rapid Manufacturing services we offer. We bet you'll discover a service that you didn't know we offer!

Follow us on LinkedIn!

Designcraft News

2017.06.22

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When it comes to Silicone Prototypes... we're very flexible

Designcraft is focused on developing and delivering innovative solutions to meet our customers' silicone rubber prototyping needs, offering full engineering and design support, low-cost tooling and quick turn-around. Combined with our expertise in colors, materials and finishes, we can provide a production quality prototype that precisely executes your geometry, reflects your color palette and reinforces your brand.

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Projects + Applications

Silicone molding is the process of creating parts by filling a mold with a liquid material and allowing it to harden into a solid, rubber component. Often produced from machined aluminum, molds are custom-made to fit the geometry of a wide assortment of parts. When large quantities and/or parts with undercut features, reverse drafting, or complex features are the main focus, silicone casting is a great method to consider for your next project.

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  • Custom Molded Rubber Parts
  • Custom Rubber Gaskets
  • Seals + O-Rings
  • Convoluted Bellows + Balloons
  • Diaphragms + Flow Control
  • Formed Hoses + Connectors
  • Vibration Isolation + Mounts
  • Overmold onto Metals + Plastics
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Production Quality Silicone Parts... you design the part, we design the tool

Our team will work with you from product concept, through prototype development and durometer selection, to the final release of precision custom rubber components. Our production grade silicone is designed to perform in a wide variety of industrial and consumer product applications.

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By taking advantage of rapid prototyping, you can quickly conduct several different iterations resulting in real parts for measuring performance and analysis of the trade-offs, implement feature changes and benchmark the resulting performance for intended approaches. This can save time, but it also ensures that you make the correct design decisions.

Designcraft News

2017.06.22

news-pic62217.jpg

When it comes to Silicone Prototypes... we're very flexible

Designcraft is focused on developing and delivering innovative solutions to meet our customers' silicone rubber prototyping needs, offering full engineering and design support, low-cost tooling and quick turn-around. Combined with our expertise in colors, materials and finishes, we can provide a production quality prototype that precisely executes your geometry, reflects your color palette and reinforces your brand.

news-pic62217-2.jpg

Projects + Applications

Silicone molding is the process of creating parts by filling a mold with a liquid material and allowing it to harden into a solid, rubber component. Often produced from machined aluminum, molds are custom-made to fit the geometry of a wide assortment of parts. When large quantities and/or parts with undercut features, reverse drafting, or complex features are the main focus, silicone casting is a great method to consider for your next project.

news-pic62217-3.jpg
  • Custom Molded Rubber Parts
  • Custom Rubber Gaskets
  • Seals + O-Rings
  • Convoluted Bellows + Balloons
  • Diaphragms + Flow Control
  • Formed Hoses + Connectors
  • Vibration Isolation + Mounts
  • Overmold onto Metals + Plastics
news-pic62217-4.jpg

Production Quality Silicone Parts... you design the part, we design the tool

Our team will work with you from product concept, through prototype development and durometer selection, to the final release of precision custom rubber components. Our production grade silicone is designed to perform in a wide variety of industrial and consumer product applications.

news-pic62217-5.jpg

By taking advantage of rapid prototyping, you can quickly conduct several different iterations resulting in real parts for measuring performance and analysis of the trade-offs, implement feature changes and benchmark the resulting performance for intended approaches. This can save time, but it also ensures that you make the correct design decisions.

Designcraft News

2017.05.18

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Print Texture Patterns Directly Onto Your Parts

Custom UV Printing Processes allow us to print full color CMYK graphics and textures directly onto your parts with a resolution greater than 1200 dpi. Using this technology, artwork created in Vector or Raster software can be printed onto almost any substrate, and in some cases, can also be printed as pearls and metallics. Of course, since we're Designcraft, custom color matching is available!

In addition to full color printing, we also have the ability to print with a clear ink, allowing embossed textures up to .010" off the surface. Textures and graphics are printed with an ink that is highly durable, capable of creating different gloss levels, and allows paint to be applied after printing. We can accommodate objects with curved surfaces and complex topographies.

Contact Stephen to learn more about printing your textures and graphics >>

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Laser Etch Debossed Textures Into Acrylic

Designcraft's Laser Machining Centers are capable of much more than simple profile cuts. Laser Machining can be used to remove material from certain substrates, creating debossed text, graphics, and textures. Etching can be used to engrave into your part, or create through holes, depending on the thickness of your material and your design intent.

This is a great technology for creating cosmetic surface textures, perforated patterns, and vent arrays that would be prohibitive to CNC Machining due to time and cost. Acrylic is our preferred material for this process, and is a primary material we use for creating the highest caliber of visual models.

Contact Casey to learn more about etching your textures and graphics >>

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CNC Machine Dimensional Tessellations

CNC Machining is our most versatile solution, being able to create surface textures on the widest variety of geometries, most complex topographies and curvatures. It can even be used to create unbroken patterns and textures around multi-sided and round objects.

CNC Machining is our most premium option for creating surface decoration. It is the right choice if your desired texture is a crisp, dimensional, geometric pattern with angled surfaces and more than .010" difference between the highs and lows. A variety of material choices including metals, plastics, and wood create a wide palette of color, opacity, and texture choices for your design.

Contact Eric to learn more about Machining your textures and graphics >>

Designcraft News

2017.05.18

news-pic51817-1.jpg

Print Texture Patterns Directly Onto Your Parts

Custom UV Printing Processes allow us to print full color CMYK graphics and textures directly onto your parts with a resolution greater than 1200 dpi. Using this technology, artwork created in Vector or Raster software can be printed onto almost any substrate, and in some cases, can also be printed as pearls and metallics. Of course, since we're Designcraft, custom color matching is available!

In addition to full color printing, we also have the ability to print with a clear ink, allowing embossed textures up to .010" off the surface. Textures and graphics are printed with an ink that is highly durable, capable of creating different gloss levels, and allows paint to be applied after printing. We can accommodate objects with curved surfaces and complex topographies.

Contact Stephen to learn more about printing your textures and graphics >>

news-pic51817-2.jpg

Laser Etch Debossed Textures Into Acrylic

Designcraft's Laser Machining Centers are capable of much more than simple profile cuts. Laser Machining can be used to remove material from certain substrates, creating debossed text, graphics, and textures. Etching can be used to engrave into your part, or create through holes, depending on the thickness of your material and your design intent.

This is a great technology for creating cosmetic surface textures, perforated patterns, and vent arrays that would be prohibitive to CNC Machining due to time and cost. Acrylic is our preferred material for this process, and is a primary material we use for creating the highest caliber of visual models.

Contact Casey to learn more about etching your textures and graphics >>

news-pic51817-3.jpg

CNC Machine Dimensional Tessellations

CNC Machining is our most versatile solution, being able to create surface textures on the widest variety of geometries, most complex topographies and curvatures. It can even be used to create unbroken patterns and textures around multi-sided and round objects.

CNC Machining is our most premium option for creating surface decoration. It is the right choice if your desired texture is a crisp, dimensional, geometric pattern with angled surfaces and more than .010" difference between the highs and lows. A variety of material choices including metals, plastics, and wood create a wide palette of color, opacity, and texture choices for your design.

Contact Eric to learn more about Machining your textures and graphics >>

Designcraft News

2017.04.06

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Multi-Axis Turn/Mill Machining Center, More Complex Parts with Faster Delivery

Designcraft's CNC Lathe is capable of executing a larger scope of work than traditional lathes and turning centers. Equipped with Automatic Tool Changing, Live Tooling, and a Sub-Spindle, Designcraft's Multi-Axis Turn/Mill Machining Center single-handedly provides operations that would have taken multiple machines and setups to complete.

Your turned parts are no longer constrained to being round in section. Y-axis functionality and Live Tooling allow for diverse geometry and complex features to be machined in a single operation, including threading and hole tapping. Finally, when you're ready to move from prototype to production, our machine's Bar Feeder and Sub-Spindle enable lights-out machining for higher quantities.

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Fabricating and Etching, with the Speed of Light

Some projects are great candidates for fulfillment on one of Designcraft's Laser Machining Centers. Our lasers are fast and accurate for making profile (2D) cuts in a wide variety of materials, including wood, foam, many types of plastic, and sheet stock thicknesses of mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. The lasers can also be used to mark text or graphics on plastic, wood, steel, aluminum, and anodized aluminum.

Great for making custom vent hole patterns, complex logos, flat sheet prototypes, and quick fabrication of simple structures, our lasers are capable of cutting some metals up to 0.120" (3mm) thick, non-metals up to 1" (25mm), and have a bed size that will accommodate materials up to 4' x 4', with an accuracy of .001".

Designcraft News

2017.04.06

news-pic40617-2.jpg

Multi-Axis Turn/Mill Machining Center, More Complex Parts with Faster Delivery

Designcraft's CNC Lathe is capable of executing a larger scope of work than traditional lathes and turning centers. Equipped with Automatic Tool Changing, Live Tooling, and a Sub-Spindle, Designcraft's Multi-Axis Turn/Mill Machining Center single-handedly provides operations that would have taken multiple machines and setups to complete.

Your turned parts are no longer constrained to being round in section. Y-axis functionality and Live Tooling allow for diverse geometry and complex features to be machined in a single operation, including threading and hole tapping. Finally, when you're ready to move from prototype to production, our machine's Bar Feeder and Sub-Spindle enable lights-out machining for higher quantities.

news-pic40617-3.jpg

Fabricating and Etching, with the Speed of Light

Some projects are great candidates for fulfillment on one of Designcraft's Laser Machining Centers. Our lasers are fast and accurate for making profile (2D) cuts in a wide variety of materials, including wood, foam, many types of plastic, and sheet stock thicknesses of mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. The lasers can also be used to mark text or graphics on plastic, wood, steel, aluminum, and anodized aluminum.

Great for making custom vent hole patterns, complex logos, flat sheet prototypes, and quick fabrication of simple structures, our lasers are capable of cutting some metals up to 0.120" (3mm) thick, non-metals up to 1" (25mm), and have a bed size that will accommodate materials up to 4' x 4', with an accuracy of .001".