I recently conducted an interview with Ray Russell, founder of RoPro Design, a robotics engineering firm. Ray talked about his robotics and prototyping work with RoPro, as well as the tools and techniques he uses to turn his customers' ideas into reality.
In this interview, Ray talks about how his production schedule doesn't match with a traditional machine shop's ordering process. This eventually led him to order from Big Blue Saw.
The typical waterjet companies around here have the traditional quoting system. where you send them a paper drawing, you wait 3 weeks, the guy contacts you with a formal quote and it's just way too slow. In 3 weeks we usually have robots designed and built.
He mentions some of the advantages to making parts using waterjet cutting.With waterjetting, you can get arcs and things that you can't get in a billet piece.
Ray is a big fan of rapid manufacturing techniques and believes that it will help US manufacturing competitiveness.The only we're going to compete with foreign manufacturing is through this high tech arena. There's no way we're going to be able to do it on the old style of intensive labor.
Here's the interview with some images of RoPro Design's and Ray's work.
Skip ahead to 8:15 in the video to see video of the hexapod robot he built in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University.