Online resource links for having parts made

At Sunday’s meeting we had some discussion about having some parts made by online. Bob Luken has started to put together some resources for members to consider. ( no recommendation — do your own research)

If you have any specific experience please share it so that members may benefit.

CAD Manufacturing Resources

These are some resources that I found in a quick Google search and is not intended to recommend any specific resource.

Has their own CAD program. You can select your material including metals and thermoplastics, and get an instant quote. They do use a variety of machining method.

Internet Machine Shop:


FirstCut Proto Labs:

CAD Software:

There is a wide variety of CAD software available from free to very expensive. They vary of course in complexity and design capabilities. I think that for most of the stuff our members will want to do even some of the free programs will do what you will want done. Once you have completed your drawings it will need to be saved in a format that the manufacturer can use to control the machine tools, laser cutter, water jet cutter, etc. There are a number of standard file types, but you will need to check with the company that will manufacture your parts. Most companies have the ability to translate from one format to another. Always check with the manufacturer about what they need.

Free CAD Software:


10 free CAD Programs you can download:

Best Free CAD Programs: – Provide rating os a wide gaiety of CAD program and image viewers. I did notice that they also have several RIP (Raster Image Processing) programs for vinyl cutters.

AutoDesk 123D

I think that this product is intended for 3D printers, but it is still a free CAD program. They also offer a program the let you use a digital camera, take multiple pictures of an object and then create a 3D image for additive manufacturing.

Makerspae, Hackerspace, FabLab, TechShop:. These are generally membership organization that either buy or accept donated hand tools, power tools and machine tools of various sizes. The terms are similar, but not completely interchangeable. For example FabLab spaces generally try to purchase the same equipment set.

In Cincinnati there is the manufactory

The Manufactory is a 17,000 sq. ft. membership workshop in northern Cincinnati. Our workshops are chock full of equipment and tools and it is the perfect place for anyone who likes to build things.

Dayton seems to have two places, with only one running.

Dayton Diode;

I’m not sure what equipment they have. Their website is rather space with details.


Seems to still be in the fund raising stage to purchase equipment

Protobuild Bar

They have several 3D printers and a small electronic kits assembly area. The offer some food and beer,

Other local resources:

There are shops in the area that do both laser cutting and water jet cutting and laser engraving. Just do a Google search and you will find several companies.

Stuff that I have that may be of use.

For the past year I have been doing dye sublimation printing. In this process special inks are heated to the point where the ink becomes a gas and then is transferred to a suitable substrate. The surface of the substrate is literally dyes with the ink. The surface must be coated with a poly ester resin of fabric. I can sublimate on polyester fabric, FRP nametags, thin metal (about .020 – .030” thick) Custom placards can be made this way in almost any combination of colors.

I also have a vinyl cutter that allows me to cut custom lettering and shapes in pressure or heat applied vinyl as well as sand blasting masks. I can order vinyl in a wide variety of colors, which include glitter, neon and glow in the dark materials.

A Final Note:

If you have any experience with any of the local shops or the on-line shops I would appreciate hearing from you with your experiences and any recommendations. I will share that information with chapter members.

— Bob Luken

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