As a product developer you need fast and accurate quotations from your supplier to get your project started. In turn, manufacturing suppliers need accurate information from you to make sure they produce exactly the parts you expect. This is why we try to offer helpful information about how to write a manufacturing enquiry.
By preparing the following information in advance, you can help ensure a quick, reliable and accurate quote from your supplier on your next product development project.
2D and 3D Design Drawings
Both 2D and 3D technical drawings are needed to produce the exact size and shape of your finished part, so it’s important to prepare both types correctly.
The 2D drawings specify the exact dimensions and tolerances of all features. This is also where you can note the surface texture, color and other important part information. The 3D CAD files are required for setting up G-code for CNC machining. Even for projects that don’t require CNC machining, such as vacuum casting, it’s useful to have a 3D CAD file for estimating raw material consumption and part weight.
What format is best? For Star Rapid, 2D drawings should be prepared in .pdf format, while 3D CAD files can be accepted in .stl, .igs or .step formats.
Different manufacturing processes are best suited for different volumes of parts. One process that may be ideal for a handful of prototypes, like vacuum casting, would be unsuited for larger production volumes. Therefore it’s best to be very clear about the quantity at the beginning of the quotation process.
Star Rapid’s production volumes range from a single one-off part to hundreds of thousands. If you’re intending to ramp up volume over time, please let us know so that we can also consider volume discounts accordingly.
Many types of metal and plastic are available to make rapid prototypes and production parts. They each have unique mechanical and physical properties to help you achieve the performance you’re looking for. It’s important that you tell us the exact material you want to work with so that we can provide a precise quotation not only for the raw material but also to account for the related processing costs using that material.
If you’re not sure about the material you want, give us as much information as you can about the part’s application and our engineers can provide a number of solutions.
The right color is very important to the success of your product innovation. However, color can be subjective and so it’s necessary to communicate this information to the supplier in an unambiguous way.
The best way to do that is by specifying a Pantone or RAL number that will allow us to offer an exact color match. If that’s not possible, then provide a physical sample and we will use our X-Rite color spectrophotometer to test the sample and generate an LCH (light, chroma, hue) value. We can then use this value for color mixing and for measuring finished parts.
No matter what manufacturing process is used, there will be a resulting surface finish left on the part. However, that may not be the finish that you’re looking for.
So whenever possible, it’s best to specify the finish you want by referencing a known surface finishing standard using a gauge or template. These include SPI gauges for plastics, VDI gauges for metal, MoldTech for chemically etching injection mold tools and more.
If flatness is important to your application, specify an Ra value if known. If necessary, we can measure the texture and flatness of a sample that you provide to us.
Although not strictly necessary for providing a quotation, it’s very helpful if you provide as much information as possible about the final application of your part. This helps us to not only suggest the best material and manufacturing process but we may also be able to offer insights into design improvements based on our experience making thousands of products for a variety of industries.
Preparing all details in advance of a quotation will help to ensure your manufacturing partner does not need to ask additional questions and therefore can expedite your project. This is the kind of service you can expect from Star Rapid when you upload your design files for a free quotation.