Prototyping suppliers

I thought I would write a short blog that could help various pocketqube teams in developing their own pocketqube satellites. While space projects are generally expensive, and most teams won’t have zany millionaires willing to splash the cash I thought I could give some insights in procuring affordable components for their projects. It’s good to have an idea of the components you will need when designing your satellite as there is nothing worse finishing your concept, producing the engineering drawings and then realising you can’t find parts that will fit or be used in your satellite.

General Components

Musimi

Musimi has a wide range of components ranging from springs, screws to materials and motors. Once you sign up an account you can download CAD models of various components. What’s great about this site is that a lot of the components can be customisable to suit your pocketqube needs.

RS Components

Similarly, to Musimi I have used RS Components for some pocketqube parts such as screws and adhesives.

Springs

For springs it’s best to try a spring stockist who stock standard sizes as custom springs usually require a large minimum order quantity which can be expensive.

The list below is the recommended spring stockists I have used. (Some of these are based in the UK):

Prototyping/3D printing service providers

3D hubs https://www.3dhubs.com/

3D Hubs is a great site for producing prototypes. All you need to do is upload your models, select the material and manufacturing process (3D printing, CNC machining and injection moulding). Then the site will match you with a local supplier who could produce your parts.

The materials that can be 3D printed are as follows:

  • High detail resin
  • PLA
  • ABS
  • Nylon
  • Stainless steel (316)
  • Aluminium Alsi10Mg
  • Titanium
  • Inconel
  • Nickel Alloy
  • Cobalt-chrome

For CNC you can select the materials

  • Aluminium (6061, 7075, 5083, 6082)
  • Stainless steel (304, 316, 2205, 303, 17-4)
  • Brass (C360)
  • ABS Plastic
  • PolycarbonateNylon 6

Injection moulding

  • ABS
  • Polypropylene
  • Polystyrene
  • HDPE
  • Nylon
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polyurethane
  • PEEK

Shapeways https://www.shapeways.com/

Shapeways is another site that is like 3D Hubs where you can upload your models, select the material required and the site will find you a supplier.

The materials that can be 3D printed are as follows:

  • Nylon 12
  • Stainless Steel (420)
  • Bronze*
  • Gold Plated Brass*

*The material is casted from a 3D printed mould which isn’t recommended for components that need to be accurate such as reaction wheels. If you want accurate parts it’s best to get them machined.

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