Much like raising a child, inspecting a new part doesn’t always come with an instruction manual. Luckily, there are reference guides to help you with both. In the world of thermoforming, we refer to 3D CAD files and part drawings to get us through to final inspection.
3D CAD files are perfect for getting up close and personal with part dimensions. These 3D CAD models allow us to rotate the part and inspect all dimensions, sometimes finding features that are not conducive to thermoforming.
The ability to virtually rotate a part to see every angle and dimension is especially helpful when determining the best way to lay out a mold, configure a trim path and ensure the part produced meets the customer’s expectations. When drawings aren’t available or are lacking detail, we can refer to the CAD to get the inspection dimensions we need.
There are many instances where our customers don’t have 3D CAD files, but are able to supply drawings. Some drawings are extremely detailed, listing material specifications, critical inspection dimensions, tolerances and packaging requirements. Other drawings may only have rough dimensions. When dealing with the latter, we try to gather some of the below information:
- Material Specs
- Sometimes we can determine wall thickness, but we like to confirm the preferred starting gauge with the customer.
- Type, texture and color are also a few of the must-have pieces of information.
- Critical Areas
- If not called out on the print, we need to know what is critical for us to provide so that our customers receive usable parts. Some of the critical areas we see most are hole diameters, surface finish, minimum wall thickness, etc.
- Not all prints list dimension tolerances. When this happens, we like to ask our customers what they can deem acceptable. This allows us to confirm if we can hold these tolerances with our process or if the tolerances are too tight.
Although sometimes difficult, when we have the necessary information, we can see this part through from infancy to end use.
Joslyn Manufacturing helps you envision, create and achieve your goals. Our team has the expertise to help create innovative solutions in a wide range of industries and can aid in material selection as well as part design. Learn more about 3D CAD files and part drawings, contact us today.