“Before Shapr3D I hand draw the measurements and bug my friend who is an engineer to draw up my images on his CAD program.”
We have interviewed our user, who has been doing directional drilling for the past decade but wanted to branch out and chose custom fabrications as his next business.
TD Custom Fabrications is a steel fabrication business, owned by Tom Dunstan. Their main focus is designing and manufacturing tray and canopy setups for 4x4 pickups (utes as they call it in Australia / New Zealand). They are also involved in various custom steel fabrication and welding projects.
Tom is currently in the process of bootstrapping the business - his goal is to expand his shed to a full-blown workshop. In the meantime, he is working with manufacturers and doing his designs himself based on the actual Cab Chassis measurements.
“Shapr3D has become my most important tool. I use it to design new trays. I’m able to upload measurements from Cab Chassis vehicles and fit out toolboxes and mounting points effectively.”
Concepting and communicating with clients
“Shapr3D allows the client to see any modifications they may require, quickly and accurately.”
He creates custom trays, so he does a lot of research on popular designs in Australia and how these can be integrated into his own designs, while keeping the quality high and costs low. Achieving this is a challenge, he does around 10-20 concepts in Shapr3D per design usually.
“I have finished products but there is an option to customise some parts on the model. The options are limited; otherwise, it isn’t cost effective to manufacture. I need to keep at least 85% of the build standard.”
Manufacturing the tray
Once Tom is ready with the tray’s 3D model, he will prepare the 2D components for cutting on the CNC machine.
“I'll generally send it straight to the CNC. Get it cut and folded, and see how it fits together.”
He is outsourcing manufacturing until he has enough business to invest a significant amount into the workshop.
“I work with manufacturers. Shapr3D is my most important tool because I have limited resources and I need to develop my components so that the build time is very minimal to maximise my return.”
After Tom receives the cut steel components, he builds the tray in 2 days to see if everything fits. Once it does, it will be stripped down and sent to powder coating.
“Once powder coating is finalised I'll require the clients car for 2 days to mount and wire up.”
Tom used to rely on engineers to create steel components for his business. Today, 6 weeks after he has downloaded Shapr3D, he is designing his own components. This gives him a quicker turnover on manufacturing and a better way to communicate designs to his clients.
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