If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of crazy ideas, many of which need custom parts that you can’t just get at the local hardware store. Getting something made for you by a machine shop is costly, cumbersome, and annoyingly full of paperwork. Needless to say, I was really excited a while ago when Roderick sent me a link to an online machine shop (eMachineShop) which allows you to design the exact part you need using their CAD software, and simply click “order”.
I’ve not ordered any parts yet, but I did download their software and design some things. Overall the software is easy to use for anyone who has experience with CAD software, and my only real complaint is that it is only available for Windows (I hate Windows).
Pricing is based on a partâ€™s complexity, machining tolerances, finish, material and shipping. They say you can order anywhere from one to one million of any part you design, and it is pretty amazing how quickly the price of each individual unit drops as the number you are ordering goes up.
The current project in my mind for which I think this service might be of use is homemade ROVs, but I can see a million and one uses for hassle-free custom part machining.