Manufacturing & Prototyping

Custom & Contract Manufacturing

Find the latest news and technical briefs in custom and contract manufacturing. Review the applications that design engineers are using to meet their manufacturing design challenges.

Latest Briefs & News

News : Government
Preventing Premature Part Failures with Electropolishing

Design engineers in the aerospace industry are constantly challenged to improve fit and function of components used in commercial and military aircraft. Parts used in these aircraft...

News : Materials
3 Key Benefits: Better Corrosion Resistance, Fatigue Life, Part Integrity

Electropolishing has become a common metal finishing process used in the aerospace industry to help improve the overall quality of metal components. These components...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Key Considerations When Selecting a Connector Solution: Choosing a Suitable Connector Supplier
Learn about certification, support, supply chain and other facts to consider when choosing a connector supplier.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: "What is Your Advice for a 3D Printing Beginner?"
A readers asks two 3D-printing veterans: "What is your advice to someone starting out with additive manufacturing?"
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Design Tool Brings a ‘Structural’ Approach to Color
A new approach to structural coloration is more freeform than you might expect.
Blog : Imaging
How to Evaluate a Vision System Integrator
Many manufacturers are relying on vision system integrators to implement machine vision. Our expert tells a reader how to find the right one for you.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How to Authenticate a 3D-Printed Part: ‘Explode’ and Embed a QR Code
Researcher Nikhil Gupta tells Tech Briefs why "exploding" a QR code inside a 3D-printed part makes counterfeiting practically impossible.
Articles : Test & Measurement
IMTS2018 Preview

Presented by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) has been the premier manufacturing technology show in the Northern Hemisphere. IMTS is held every even...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Diamond Pellet Grinding Tool

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a numerically controlled grinding tool that eliminates undesirable periodic variations in surface contours in optical and other surfaces — such as mid-spatial...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: July 2018

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Blog : Photonics/Optics
Following Up: What is the Future of Flexible Solar Cells?
Researcher Jaana Vapaavuori answered an additional question regarding the future of flexible solar cells.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
FLAM! Researchers Test Cellulose as Sustainable 3D-Printing Material

Researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design have demonstrated 3D printing with one of the Earth’s most abundant organic compounds: cellulose.

Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Answering Your Questions: Why Are Companies Holding Back on 'Digital' Product Development?
If digital transformation is a boardroom priority, why are companies so slow to transform product development? A reader asks our experts.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: Beyond Prototyping, How is 3D Metal Printing Being Used in the Automotive Industry?
Can metal 3D printing help automakers with more than just prototyping? It can, and it has, says our engineering expert.
Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
What are your Biggest Manufacturing Challenges?

What parts of the design process are the most difficult? What information are you looking for now to help you with your job? Is there a specific technology area that can be challenging to find out the latest solutions for?

Let us know in the comments: What are your Biggest Manufacturing...

Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will 3D Printing Get Past the Plastic?
If you think there’s too much hype surrounding 3D printing, perhaps that’s because you’re only thinking about plastic parts.
Articles : Motion Control
Cobots and Industrial Robots: Choose the Right Robot for the Job

Automating manufacturing processes is a complex issue, with no one-size-fits-all solution. Robots range from insect-like microrobots to industrial robots powerful enough to...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
A Bright Idea for Reducing Waste: Color-Changing 3D Printables
Professor Stefanie Mueller and fellow researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are exploring a more efficient way to cut down on print jobs: objects that change color.
Blog : Medical
Shape-Morphing Materials Add 4th Dimension to 3D Printing

3D printing uses computer control to fuse layers of polymers or powders into a three-dimensional object. Rutgers University researchers found a way to add to a fourth dimension –...

Briefs : Materials
Conductive, High-Toughness Oxides Deposited by Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition (PS-PVD)

Oxide coatings deposited in Glenn Research Center's Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition (PS-PVD) facility can be processed to be mechanically tough (erosion-resistant) and electrically conductive at room temperature. The electrically conductive...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Initially Moon-Bound, A New Demolition Probe Breaks Ground on Earth

An electrically-driven demolition probe originally funded by NASA enables a more precise, quieter fracturing method that its creators hope will give construction workers on...

Blog : Software
Will Ethics Training be Essential for Tomorrow's Design Engineers?

In our second INSIDER story, Patti Kreh demonstrated that colleges and universities will need to take an "interdisciplinary" approach to train the design engineers of the future.

"What we're seeing is the need for the blending of disciplines – a combination of...

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will 3D printing of tissue revolutionize healthcare?

This week’s Question: Our lead stories today featured interviews with Chuck Hull, inventor of the 3D printer, and industry expert Terry Wohlers. Though the medical applications for additive manufacturing are still in their early stages, organizations around the world have printed both hard...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
The 3D Printing Landscape: Then and Now

Frequently used as a design validation and prototyping tool in its early days, the 3D printer now supports a much wider range of applications, from shape-conforming electronics to the creation of printed living tissue. Tech Briefs spoke with industry expert Terry Wohlers about 3D printing's emerging...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New at IMTS

Optomec (Albuquerque, NM) unveiled its LENS machine tool machines that integrate the company's metal 3D printing technology into standard CNC machine tool platforms. Three standard system configurations are offered, making hybrid and traditional metal additive manufacturing more affordable and accessible. The three systems are...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Intelligent Machine Tool Prototype

A research group led by Professor Shirase Keiichi of the Kobe University Graduate School of Engineering has developed a prototype machine tool that can manufacture metal components and operates like a 3D printer. This development could speed up the manufacture of custom-made products such as dental implants and...