ShapeMaster: Innovation at It’s Finest!
When something is broken the first reaction is to purchase a replacement part. In most
cases that is the best way, but I work at ShapeMaster and we have an understanding here
to look at the big picture and to consider all available options. So when I was presented
with a broken button (see below), I was asked to go out and find a replacement.
This button is the Emergency Stop button off our main air compressor. It just about powers
everything in our operation, and we need to keep this machine in tip top condition at all
times. When new, it was a pretty expensive machine and was made in Belgium, so you can
guess replacement parts are going to be expensive as well.
I got ahold of our compressor service rep and she said the price of a new replacement
button would be $51.00 plus $17.00 shipping. So now we have $68.00 for a red, plastic
button….from Belgium. The bright side was they had one in stock which would have save a
couple of weeks.
Obviously, we thought this was ludicrous for a red, plastic button….from Belgium. I was
instructed to find another source. I tried the usual suspects, eBay, Amazon, Craigslist,
there just were no other options out there. Parts are not readily available.
I sat at my desk looking at this broken, red, plastic button….from Belgium. This is where I
realized I work at ShapeMaster, and we have been working in plastic for close to 30 years.
What options do I have here? Machining a new button out of red material was floated, but
by the time you program it, you purchase the material, and then schedule someone to run
the machine, you might as well buy the new button due to the expense.
I took another look at the button. It looked like it was made of ABS, and then it came to
mind that one of our 3d printers prints in ABS. So I checked out a website called
Thingiverse. This is a great website if you own a 3d printer. It is FULL of interesting, useful,
and not so useful “things” to print.
I found an “E-Stop” button on the site, but it was too large for our compressor. I
downloaded the button files anyway and loaded it into the printer software. I took
measurements from the busted button, applied them to the button in the software,
loaded red ABS, and hit print.
1-1/2 hours later, a new, red, plastic button…made in the USA, at a cost around $1.00.
As mentioned in the beginning, we at ShapeMaster look at the big picture and consider all
options available to us before taking action on any project, even our own projects.
The Bottom Line is this: At ShapeMaster we are creative people and that is what you want
for your team.
Let us assist you with your project. Check out our services!
Including but not limited to:
Sheet Metal Design, Machining, Laser, Punching, Fabrication, Welding,
Mill, Lathe, Bend, and this is what we can do to metal!
CAD, 3D Printing, Prototyping, Machine Guarding, Project Management,
Automation Services, Your Source For 80/20!
Let’s not forget our expertise in plastic! Shaping and taming plastic for
close to 30 years through thermal forming, heat bending, welding, cutting, and yes, injection molding!
Over 100 years of combined expertise in the services we offer!
If you can think it, we can make it! After all, we are ShapeMaster!