PDD‘s development facility has the capability to manufacture a multitude of things. From working prototypes, test rigs & visual models through to bicycle frames. Let’s follow a simple model through its journey from idea to tangible product.
Let’s say this is a simple form model to be made from a lightweight modelling material. Its purpose is to give the designer a ‘feel’ for size & form.
Beginning in the design studio the part usually starts off as a two dimension drawing. The form is then produced in 3D using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software.
The CAD is then handed over to one of the development engineers to be imported into our CAM (Computer Aided Manufacture) software. Cutter strategies are then produced to allow the part to be machined on one of our 3 axis CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines. If the model has a cylindrical form it would be turned on our NC lathe. Then it’s a case of setting the machine running and waiting for the part to be sculpted.
The machined model is then handed over to one of our model makers for finishing. Models of this type have numerous different levels of finish. It could be simply sanded to remove machining marks, painted a single colour or painted to show colours of the finished product known as ‘colour breaks’. If the model is to be produced in multiples it may be treated as a master & be used to create a cavity in a silicone tool, which can be used to cast dozens of identical models. But let’s leave that for another post.
The finished model is handed back to the design team for discussion, and since the studio is literally across the corridor from the Development Centre, rapid iteration of the design follows.