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Making Your Idea A Reality: Rapid Prototyping Services in Minneapolis, MN

July 15th, 2015 · No Comments

Taking an idea and turning it into a functioning product requires a lot of trial and error and troubleshooting before ending up with the perfect design. Making that product successful also often requires investors, licenses, and insurance policies. At Thomas Engineering Company, we provide rapid prototyping services in Minneapolis, MN so you can better understand and present your idea in 3-dimensional form.

Prototyping is a long-cultivated process that inventors from Leonardo da Vinci to Nikola Tesla and Rudolf Diesel have used to perfect and study their concepts. If you want to present your idea to an investor or customer, having some form of physical prototype will help you appear professional and serious about your design trajectory.

At TEC, we can take your idea, whether it’s a few drawings, a crude prototype, or a CAD file, and work with you to turn it into a polished prototype that you are satisfied with. Our prototypes are made from the same materials we use for our other products, and you will get the same strength and flexibility from our metals.

Our prototyping processes use precision metal stamping technology that can work from  .001” to .125” and are capable of standard and interchangeable tooling, so you can avoid additional tooling charges you might encounter with other prototype engineering companies.

If metal stamping or our standard prototyping procedures don’t fit your needs, we can continue working with you to develop a product with our chemical etching, welding, and in-die tooling services. At TEC, we understand that some prototypes need to be approached differently for optimal production quality.

After we have successfully helped your realize your concept with our prototyping services, we hope you will have success in presenting that prototype and contact us for further services to continue your production process. If you need precision metal engineering services to render your idea into a 3-dimensional prototype, contact TEC for rapid prototyping services in Minneapolis, MN today.

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Which Types of Metals are Used for Precision Metal Stamping at Thomas Engineering Company in Minneapolis, MN?

July 7th, 2015 · No Comments

Have you ever wondered about which types of metals are used in the precision metal stamping process? Here is some brief information about some of the different types of metals Thomas Engineering Company, based in Minneapolis, MN, is able to use to create any component you need.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an incredibly strong steel alloy that has at least 10.5% chromium by mass. In contrast with regular steel, stainless steel does not rust, stain, or corrode when exposed to water. Because of this, it is often used in the aerospace, medical, electronics, automotive industries to create components such as fuel delivery components, oxygen sensors, and spring-type parts.

Aluminum

Aluminum is lightweight and has a high strength-to-weight ratio. It has a relatively lower melting point, which allows for more flexibility in the production process. Its natural oxide coating makes it resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is often used in the automotive and aerospace industries.

Brass

Brass is a soft alloy composed of zinc and copper. The proportions of each element can be varied to produce brasses with different levels of electrical properties and hardness. Brass is commonly used in automotive instruments and electrical equipment.

Copper

Copper is a nonferrous metal known for its unique color. It is relatively soft and offers excellent thermal and electrical conductivity. Because of this, it is often used to create electronic components.

These are just a few of the metals we are able to handle in our precision metal stamping processes. Contact Thomas Engineering Company in Minneapolis, MN or at one of our offices around the United States to learn more about the many different metal stamping and rapid prototyping services we provide.

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Ask Thomas Engineering Company in Minneapolis: What is the Difference Between Precision Metal stamping and Die Casting?

July 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

There are a number of different ways to fabricate metal parts and each one has unique advantages. Two of these methods are precision metal stamping and die casting. Thomas Engineering Company in Minneapolis, MN has chosen to focus on precision metal stamping, but what exactly is the difference between the two methodologies?

Precision Metal Stamping

In the precision metal stamping process, a flat sheet of cold metal is placed in a stamping die in a mechanical press. The piece is then blanked, pierced, bent, or folded to create the desired component. It’s even possible to perform multiple operations on a part through a process called progressive stamping. Overall, stamping is a very economical way of mass producing a wide variety of parts. The cost per piece decreases as the order volume rises.

Die Casting

Die casting, on the other hand, is a different process where molten metal is forced under high pressure into a steel mold, also known as a die. These dies, which are reusable, can be designed to produce complex components. Die cast components are generally stronger than those created from the precision metal stamping process, as the molten metal’s internal grain takes on the shape of the produced component as it cools. However the die casting process in more involved, and requires more complex machinery, as the metal used must be first melted in a high-temperature furnace.

Thomas Engineering Company specializes in precision metal stamping components that have a thickness between 0.001″-0.125″ for a number of industries, including the automotive, medical, and technology sectors. We use 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software to design the most accurate tools possible. This computer simulation process, combined with our over 50 years of experience and expertise in rapid prototyping and valued added services, allows us to take on any metal stamping challenge presented to us. Contact us in Minneapolis, MN or at one of our offices around the United States today and let us know: what can we create for you?

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A Brief History of Metal Stamping

June 26th, 2015 · 1 Comment

Ever since man figured out how to smelt ore into metal, people have been trying to find new and better ways to fabricate metal products. From forging and casting molten metal into sand molds to the work of blacksmiths to modern day precision metal stamping, the history has been a journey of continuous invention and innovation. Today, the precision metal stamping of parts by companies like Thomas Engineering Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota has taken precision metal stamping to new levels early metal craftsmen could never have imagined.

To understand the history of the development process of precision metal stamping and how it has changed metal fabrication, one need look no farther than coins. The first attempts at the metal stamping process had its beginnings in striking coins.

It is believed the first coins were struck in the seventh century B.C. by the Lydians, a people living in what is now modern-day Turkey. The principle behind the process was not all that different than the metal stamping that is done today. A die was created bearing the image of one side of the coin. Another image was carved into a stamp that was struck with a heavy hammer, creating a two-sided coin. These coins were usually made of metals like gold or an alloy of gold and silver.

This process of striking coins, and eventually other objects, remained basically the same until around 1550 when a Marx Schwab, a German silversmith, developed a screw press for stamping coins. The screw press was turned by as many as twelve men to exert the pressure needed to form the metal. Although advances in metallurgy had made it possible to create much harder and durable dies and stamps, the concept behind the process remained much the same.

With the coming of the industrial revolution, the brute force of the human powered screw press was replaced by using steam power to lift a heavy weight above the die and dropping it to strike the image. As technology improved, the speed with which coins could be stamped rose dramatically, but stamping metal parts for industrial use was almost unheard of until the 1890s. Prior to then, manufacturers relied on forging and die-casting for the fabrication of most metal components. However, in 1890, a German bicycle manufacturer began making parts for bicycles using metal stamping.

As manufacturers began to discover how much faster and cheaper parts could be fabricated using metal stamping, the process began to flourish. Surprisingly, one of the last manufacturers to embrace the metal stamping of automobile parts was Henry Ford. An innovator in the assembly process, his engineers had to convince Ford that metal stamping for fenders and other parts was not only faster and less expensive than die-casting, but the quality was just as good. As production demands increased, Ford had no choice but to accept this new technology to keep up with demand.

Since those humble beginnings, precision metal stamping is now used in nearly every product we use. As the capabilities of the process improve, new markets are opened. At Thomas Engineering Company, we are continually investing in stretching the limits and improving the working tolerances of what can be done by precision metal stamping. We can produce stamped parts for ultra thin applications as thin as .001 of an inch. Our client list includes industries as varied as electronics, medical, automotive, computers, aerospace, and much more.

Whether you need a prototype part with a lead time of only days, or a production run of literally billions of parts, Thomas Engineering Company has been meeting the precision metal stamping needs of businesses for over fifty years. Contact us and discover how we can work with you to help you reach your goals.

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Thomas Engineering Company’s New Site Goes Live!

May 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

Thomas Engineering Company’s New Site Goes Live!

Providing precision metal stampings throughout the world from our headquarters in Brooklyn Park, MN

We’d like to welcome you to the new website for Thomas Engineering Company! We are a nationwide company that can meet all the metal stamping, rapid prototyping, and metal engineering needs of your company. From concept and design through production and the finished product, we’ll meet your needs every step of the way.

Our metal stamped components are among the best in the business for a variety of industries. We serve multiple segments, including the:

  • Telecommunications industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Medical industry

Take the Tour
We are excited to show you around our brand new website. We’ve got plenty of information about each of the specific services that we offer!

Thanks to the team at MLT Group, we were able to create a website that displays all the information you might be looking for that looks amazing! We have extensive knowledge about precision metal stamping, from micro-miniature to medium-sized metal stampings. Feel free to contact our office at (763) 533-1501 or email tec-sales@thomasengineering.com to get started today on your rapid prototyping or metal stamping needs!

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