CAD to gold-plated stainless steel


Web-based fabrication has gotten even more exciting with a new material/process offered through the Ponoko system. Getting computer models ‘printed’ in 3D using online rapid prototyping processes is established but having the CAD parts arrive in stainless steel with a gorgeous rich gold coat is quite something.

ponoko stainless steel gold-plated parts

This new material/process is offered through the US hub and is equally as easy to order as the 2d laser-cutting service. I found that dimensions ‘shrink’ slightly eg holes I had modeled as 3.9 mm turned out to be 3.4 mm in the finished parts. Being mostly stainless steel (with some bronze wicked into it) it proved very difficult to drill the holes to the right size. High speed drill bits (even titanium tipped) are blunt after drilling only 6mm deep. Reducing the speed from the recommended 1000 rpm to a third helped to improve their staying power slightly. I look forward to the carbon-nitride drill bit I ordered to finally finish the job.

These parts are for a new light using a mix of digitally fabricated and manually made elements. The ‘gold’ parts are intented to connect carbon fiber rods forming the main structure of the design.

design sketch and wire model

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2 Responses to “CAD to gold-plated stainless steel”


  1. 1 http://tinyurl.com/adribowie31453 06/02/2013 at 3:42 PM

    This specific post, “CAD to gold-plated stainless steel « virtualterritory” reveals that you
    fully understand what u r writing about! I fully agree with your post.
    Many thanks ,Alysa


  1. 1 Mikado LED light, use of digital fabrication for design prototyping « virtualterritory Trackback on 29/10/2012 at 10:03 PM

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