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RFQ CNC milling to complete partially-done syntactic foam floats

Bowhead

Plastic
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Hi! This is an RFQ for qty (3) CNC machining of customer-supplied syntactic-foam material that has already been partly completed.

Besides the limited quantity, the material is challenging and mid-range shops don't seem to want to deal with it. Syntactic foam consists of microscopic glass "microspheres" bound in an epoxy resin; it mills like butter, but it leaves invisible glass shards that pose potential risks to both people and machinery. In that respect I'm told it's like milling fiberglass.

The work used to be done by a retired machinist with a home-brew CNC mill in his garage. The mill was sloppy to begin with so he wasn't concerned for his equipment. Meanwhile my quantities were very low, the mill was contained, and he had lots of ventilation (open garage door), so he felt any health risks were minimal.

It's a good cause: flotation for a miniature acoustic recorder for attachment to marine wildlife (see the banner photo in my profile). Data from this device has led to all sorts of new understandings about marine wildlife, see for example this 2021 article in the New Yorker.

The three floats are already partly done as "blanks" (our drawing GR2145), that is, with the electronics package mating surface complete but no hydrodynamic fairing. I need the hydrodynamic fairing surface and some other receptacles and holes finished out to our drawing GR2149.

Before proceeding with the milling, I would need a mechanical sample (material your choice) to verify capability, with the option to cancel if the sample is unacceptable. Tolerances are loose, so this shouldn't be a high bar. If you have good credentials and references I will waive this.

Delivery is negotiable, but the sooner the better.

Please PM a bid if you're interested. If you want the mechanical sample requirement waived, please include at least two references. Extra points for shops located within 2-3 hours' driving distance of Santa Cruz, California, but anywhere in the US is fine. I'm afraid I can't consider shops outside the US.

I can't promise to respond to every bid, but I definitely promise to make a closing comment on this thread when the time comes.

Professional bids are absolutely welcome! At the same time I think this would be a perfect job for a high-end hobbyist or a retired professional with a slow, loose-tolerance CNC mill that's fully enclosed and/or located in a well-ventilated area.

Thanks very much for your consideration.
 
Addendum: A STEP file is available for GR2149 (which I need milled) as well as for GR2145 (which customer will provide already complete).
 
Hello everybody, I found a local shop three months ago and they've been working on it. I have been waiting to close this RFQ until the shop gave me a quote to approve, but they are nearly done with the work and still haven't quoted me! In any event I'm committed to them now. If anybody out there likes doing this kind of work and hasn't written me yet, please feel welcome to reach out. Thanks all.
 
Hello everybody, I found a local shop three months ago and they've been working on it. I have been waiting to close this RFQ until the shop gave me a quote to approve, but they are nearly done with the work and still haven't quoted me! In any event I'm committed to them now. If anybody out there likes doing this kind of work and hasn't written me yet, please feel welcome to reach out. Thanks all.
Hi, I am interested in this, please email [email protected]
 








 
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