Alpha Proto’s mechanical engineering department has a wealth of design experience. We have worked in additive manufacturing, the design of molds and plastic parts for both thermoforming and injection molding, as well as the production of parts via both methods, sheet metal design and manufacturing, advanced epoxies, and composites. These experiences aid us in realizing your design on a day to day basis.
Alpha Proto’s staff use are skilled in the use of Solidworks Professional to create 3-D CAD models. These models are used to calculate weight, stress, strain, and displacement under applied force, as well as to generate 2-D drawings. Rhino is used to model more complex surfaces.
Once CAD work is done, physical realization can begin. For early iterations, Alpha Proto uses the 3-D Touch made by 3D Systems. This is a FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) 3-D printer. The printer has a build envelope of 9” x 10.75” x 8.25” (230mm x 275mm x 210mm). Each layer can be as little as 0.005” (0.125mm) thick. It has 2 extruder heads so 2 materials (typically ABS and PLA) or two colors can be printed. For 2-D objects we have a 40 watt laser cutter with a working area of 9.5" x 14.5" x 2.75” (240mm x 386mm x 69mm) capable of cutting/engraving many materials including 1/4" acrylic and 1/4" wood as well as marking anodized aluminum and Thermark treated metals.
Mathcad is an engineering calculation program which allows the user to input formulas and variables and generate results in appropriate units. This can be a very useful tool for quickly narrowing design considerations. It can save considerable time and effort before generating CAD and running analysis to finalize the design.
Alpha Proto has two CNC milling machines. The benchtop vertical mill has a table travel of 19.688” x 7.5” (500mm x 190mm), a Z travel of 4.688” (120mm), and a 1.5 hp (1.1 kW) spindle motor. Our larger 4 axis gantry mill has a 51” x 51” (1300mm x 1300mm) working area, a Z travel of 10” (250mm), an A axis (rotation about Y), and a water cooled 7.4 HP (5.5 kW) spindle motor. This machine is incredibly useful, not only due to its size. The 4th axis allows us to machine revolved features which would be very difficult without it. In addition, it simplifies setups, which saves time and money. The more powerful motor also expands the range of materials which can be machined, and the speed that the process can be carried out.
Other capabilities we have include TGAW (TIG) welding and plasma cutting. Our welder is a Miller syncrowave 180 SD. This welder can weld steel, aluminum, stainless steel, and many other metals. Our plasma cutter can cut up to ¼” Steel.