3ERP blog and resources

Welcome to 3ERP's blog

We share information, tips and things we've learned from our years in the rapid prototyping and manufacturing industry.


Designing and fabricating LED light pipes featured image
Wednesday October 13, 2021

When you see an LED indicator on a computer or piece of machinery, chances are you are seeing light that has passed through an LED light pipe. Light pipes transmit light from a light source such as an LED to an output area where a user can see it. Light pipes are not widely discussed, […]

6 reasons to choose machined parts over molded featured image
Wednesday September 29, 2021

Machined parts are everywhere, and it’s easy to see why: CNC machining is suitable for a range of metals and plastics, and machined parts can be fabricated quickly and affordably with no tooling required. With 3ERP, you can get machined parts and prototypes at fair prices with short lead times, and we have experience working […]

Sheet metal bending featured image
Wednesday September 22, 2021

Bending — sometimes called flanging or press braking — is one of the most important and widely used techniques in sheet metal fabrication.  Sheet metal bending allows manufacturers to turn a straight piece of sheet metal into an angled component, and this can be much more cost-effective than welding or affixing two separate pieces together. […]

Guide to making sheet metal brackets featured image
Friday September 3, 2021

What is a bracket? In short, a bracket is an intermediate component used to fix one thing (like a shelf) to another (like a wall). It may be thought of a kind of fastener, but this is somewhat misleading: actual fasteners like screws are used to connect the bracket to the other parts. In addition […]

What is galvanization and how can it improve metal parts? featured image
Wednesday September 1, 2021

Galvanization is a process for adding a coating of zinc to the surface of steel or iron. Since the zinc acts as a sacrificial coating, it protects the steel or iron underneath and can therefore extend the lifespan of metal parts. But galvanization is a complex process that can be carried out in several ways. […]

How dimensionally accurate are 3D printed parts? featured image
Saturday August 21, 2021

How accurate is 3D printing? The answer to that question depends on many factors, such as the type of 3D printing technology, the quality of the model of 3D printer, the 3D printing material, the complexity and practicality of the design, and the user-defined printing parameters. Because 3D printers depend on a myriad of moving […]

What are heat sinks and how are they made? featured image
Wednesday August 11, 2021

Electronic devices like personal computers generate heat as they are operated. Electricity runs through the various wires and components of the device, encountering resistance as it goes, and this resistance generates heat, rapidly elevating the temperature of the device. Left unchecked, this heat can have disastrous consequences for the device: components like the central processing […]

What are jigs and fixtures? featured image
Tuesday August 3, 2021

For those who dabble in manufacturing or prototyping, terms “jig” and “fixture” appear frequently, especially when talking about machining — a subtractive manufacturing process for plastic and metal parts. But what are jigs and fixtures, what are jigs and fixtures used for, and why are jigs and fixtures so important? Although often grouped together, these […]

Different types of fasteners used in manufacturing: Screws, bolts & beyond featured image
Saturday July 31, 2021

Fasteners play a crucial role in part design, manufacturing, and assembly. These little pieces of hardware are simple and inexpensive, but without them we would struggle to make many important things: furniture, architectural structures, computers, flooring, vehicles, and much more. The role of a fastener is to mechanically join two or more components together. You […]

The complete guide to 3D printing featured image
Thursday July 22, 2021

3D printing is a digital prototyping and production technology that fabricates plastic or metal parts one layer at a time. It is also known as additive manufacturing because material is gradually added to build the part, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing processes — such as CNC machining, laser cutting, plasma cutting, water jet, stamping etc. […]