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3 Common Mistakes to Avoid when Designing for Manufacturing

When it comes to designing products for manufacturing, it requires a mentality that is to be careful for designing parts with requirements in mind. Consideration actions early is a great practice. Its less likely that you will have to return to designing for major changes later on. This will save you on time and money.

Here are some common mistakes when designing for manufacturing that are easily avoidable. Saving time and money will greatly help in the end over the lifecycle of a product.

Machine Capabilities

Knowing your machines will help out greatly in the long run. A great practice when working with a customer is to offer a tour of the business. This will show the customer what kind of equipment they will be working with. Another great practice is to have an equipment list provided on your website. This will give them a jump start for the knowledge of your equipment, even if they are not available for a tour of your shop. This shows how the company likes to work, their specialties, and the materials they (you) can process.

Having a cheat sheet for what your machines capabilities are like:

  • Bend Tolerance
  • Sheet Metal Max Thicknesses
  • Sheet Metal Max Sizes
  • etc.

These examples and more are always beneficial to the customer so they know how big or small of a project they can work with you on.

Lack of Detail in Part Specifications

The more the information is always better than less the information. If you receive a part that shows a drawing with no dimensions, you probably won’t be able to do the job. Unless its something like a job for painting the part. Then the information that’s in the drawing just might be enough.

Another example if a customer requests to have a part made of “aluminum”. Just saying “aluminum” is not enough, as it doesn’t offer enough information. There are different types of aluminum like 3003, 1001, and 6061. Be sure to have as much information you can get from the customer when working on a job for them. It will benefit you in the long run.

Material and Sizes

This follows under what was mentioned earlier. There are so many different types of metals out there. Be sure to communicate with the customer to getting the precise type of material needed for the job. This will help greatly, so you know what to work with for the equipment you are supplying. Same goes for size. Let’s say the customer gives you a part and, in their request, they would like to have a sheet metal thickness of 2 inches. They did not relay this information to you, but your equipment will handle a max of 1 inch. This would result in a job that you would not be able to work on. Communicate with the customer and be sure you have the information you need to perform the job.

These types of tips will barely scratch the surface but are a great awareness approach to making sure you have a job that is successful and a relationship with the customer. And remember, like any good working relationship, communication is key.

Have any questions? Contact Us

Laser Cutting and How Does It Work?

A focused, high powered laser beam cuts into the material of plates, sheets, or slabs is the process of laser cutting.  It generally uses non-contact optics to control the shape of the laser output. Its mostly used in industrial applications where the quality of the cut is important. Different types of materials may be used in the fabrication process, including plastics, glass, gemstones, paper, mostly in a combination with metals.

There are different types of cutting with a laser. Oxidation, Fusion, and scribing are different processes that have their own benefits and drawbacks as well depending on the circumstances of what the job involves with the laser.

How Does Laser Cutting Work?

Laser cutting is the process in which a high-powered laser beam is used to cut or even engrave into different types of products. The laser is beamed through high-fidelity optics. Depending on the material types of the projects, cutting systems vary.

A laser beam is created when pulses of electromagnetic radiation are organized laterally inside a closed container bouncing off mirrors. The energy of a medium produces these pulses through electrical lamps or discharges. The light is amplified as it passes back and forth between two mirrors until the threshold of energy needs to exit the laser in a single, well-focused pulse from one end of the tube. Resulting in a guided path where the lens requires it.

3 Popular Types of Laser Cutting

There are a variety of laser generator types.

  • Fiber Lasers
  • CO2 Laser
  • Neodymium Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet Laser

CO2 Laser

CO2 lasers have become popular and for reason. They are affordable and allow one to cut non-metallic materials, thin sheets of aluminum or non-ferrous metals. In order to get the laser inside of a tube, it passes electricity through a mixture of Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and Helium gas.

The mirrors are placed at both ends of the tube that allow one to see all the sides of whatever is being cut by letting any light escape behind it while concentrating the beam in a specific direction. The generated lights wavelength is not visible to us, so don’t worry too much about your safety.

A laser beam is then passed through a handful of mirrors similar to the sun going through a magnify glass to burn a piece of paper. The laser will then pass through the material. The system regulates the laser by focusing it on the material before generating out the heat intensity and length according to what is needed.

Back then before the material would be cut, the G-code, which is a set of digital instructions given by computers. Would have to be programmed by engineers. Today, the software can now convert 3D models into the G-code for us.

How to Make the Most of Laser Cutting

Determining the size of the machine is up to what kind of jobs you will be working on. They all have their different sizes with different price points. This is all on your preference.

Focal Spot

A specialized mirror or a lens is used to help the beam focus to a small spot of high intensity. The location or spot where the beam’s diameter is smallest is called the focal spot. Getting your laser cutter’s focal spot just right depends on sever factors, thickness, beam shape, material properties, mode, etc.


If you are going to be cutting a lot, then you will want to look for a machine with a more powerful laser. But on the other hand, if your jobs do not require much cutting, then you can get away with using a machine with a less powerful laser. The higher the intensity levels will always burn faster and cost more per cut. Flexibility is key because it will determine on how much work there will be to do.

Beam Intensity

The distribution of a laser beam determines the size of the focal point it creates. Not to mention the extension and the quality of the cut across the material. A beam typically is regarded as most effective when its output is Gaussian.


The laser beams wavelength determines how the material absorbs the light, so if the wavelength is correct, there will be sufficient heating to melt or cut through an object.

The Benefits of Laser Cutting

Laser cutting machines are great to have for those types of jobs. Especially when it comes to certain aspects. They come with a customized machine that cuts the material efficiently. Allowing the manufacturer to spend less time in production and focus more on developing other aspects of their business for growing in the future.

Have any questions? Want to learn more? Contact our Team.

Dan Barry Survey Map Storage – Space Saving and Easy to Use

Survey Map Storage with Dan Barry, licensed land surveyor

Of course, the Ulrich Planfile is the perfect Survey Map Storage Cabinet. In this case, Dan has stored survey maps and tax maps in this filing cabinet. Moreover, it is perfect for A, B, C, D, E, size documents. And you can customize the Planfile to fit various sizes. Comparatively this one Planfile Cabinet is equal to 6 flat file cabinets. However, it costs less and has more features. In addition, the Planfile is suitable for Engineering Drawings, Posters, USGS Maps, and Engineering Prints.
Durable, Space Saving and Easy to Use

New York and Pennsylvania licensed land surveyors, Dan Barry and Joe McGraw, have a number of survey maps. “Since 1996 we have used an Ulrich Planfile cabinet to store and protect our drawings and tax maps. Of course, this cabinet has worked very well for us,” said Dan Barry.

Durable Survey Map Storage

We have been using the cabinet for 20 years and we have no problems with it. “The Planfile Cabinet held up very well, including a move from our previous office,” says Dan Barry.

Of course this cabinet holds A sized 9 x 12 and 8 x 11 documents. Usually, these Planfile cabinets hold large documents. Including D sized, E sized and F sized documents. Also, ISO A0 and A1 sized documents. To clarify, this includes 24 x 36, 30 x 42, and 36 x 48 and 36 x 56 sized documents. These sizes are all in inches.
Easily store multiple sizes in one cabinet.

Multiple Sizes Filed In One Cabinet

Of course, the Planfile is known for large document storage. However, it is equally adept at storing many different sizes in the same cabinet, even A size documents. “Chiefly our survey maps are older drawings, large size drawings, and multiple size drawings. In this case, we store D sized, C sized and Tabloid or ledger size maps,” remarked Barry.

For instance, this folder holds some of the smaller survey maps we have done. In addition, the tax maps are of various materials, including mylar.

Of course, the Ulrich Planfile is the perfect Survey Map Storage Cabinet. And is the choice for Dan Berry Professional Surveyor to file survey maps and town, county and city tax maps. Moreover, it is perfect for a variety of sizes in one cabinet. And this one holds A size, B size, C size and size documents. Comparatively this one Planfile Cabinet is equal to 6 flat file cabinets. However, it costs less and has more features. In addition, the Planfile is suitable for Engineering Drawings, Posters, USGS Maps, and Engineering Prints.
Great Document Protection

Great Document Protection

Equally important, this Ulrich Planfile cabinet protects the survey maps very well. While we do have some flat files, overall, the Ulrich Planfile preserves the maps better, keeping them smooth and unwrinkled.

And Saves Floor Space

Meanwhile the Planfile cabinet uses much less floor space and makes it easier for storage. Note: the unique decoration of Dan Barry’s cabinet is a custom paint by another company.

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Many Features and Sizes

Of course, Dan Barry and Joe McGraw are using the Ulrich Planfile Cabinet. In addition to the features above this cabinet has:

  • Fire Resistance
  • Water Resistance
  • Protects Documents from dust
  • Mobile – Fits through standard 32″ doorways
  • 60 heavy duty folders included in price
  • 3,600 document capacity for largest size document – even more for smaller sizes

Read more about the Planfile…

Don’t need fire resistance?

Try our Planfile 2 economy file.

Need a Smaller Cabinet?

Try the Minifile Cabinet less than 15″ deep, but stores more than 2 flat file cabinets. And is fire resistant.


The Cadfile office size file. Less than 11″ deep. But equal in capacity to 2 flat file cabinets.

National Public Works Week a Chance to Give Thanks to Public Works Professionals

National Public Works Week – May 15 – 21


Are you taken for granted?

Have people ever taken a job you’ve done for granted?   While you do it day in and day out, no one seems to thank you or even notice. For this reason, this week is for people who take care of all of us every day with little appreciation. In fact, we often greet them with complaint or a longer wish list. After all, what do I have to be thankful for you ask? To begin with, let’s take a look at a day in your life. Surprisingly, you will find all the items highlighted green are thanks to public works professionals.

Morning of the first day of  National Public Works Week

First thing in the morning you crawl out of bed to a room at the perfect temperature. Next you turn on the light. Then into the bathroom and turn on the water, and grab your toothpaste to brush your teeth. Even though you are minutes into your morning routine you have used services from at least 5 public works departments.

After you are ready for your day, you jump in your car. As you drive down the street you come to the stop sign at the end of your street. Of course, you can see the sign clearly because that tree has been trimmed back to make room. And the tall grass on the left has been removed making a clear view of the road. Now it’s time to pick up your favorite coffee at the busy intersection. And you are grateful there is a left-hand turn lane at the light to make it easy to get into the coffee house. Finally, you jump on the highway for your quick ride to work. Remembering how it used to take you twice as long before the highway was created.

You haven’t even made it to your morning destination and you have utilized the following public works services:

  • Power
  • Water
  • Sewer
  • Road workers
  • Road designers
  • Traffic flow and design
  • Property deeds recording
  • Maintenance workers

Of course, these are just a few of your public works professionals.

Other departments to thank!

  • Parks
  • Recreational areas – like shorelines, lakes etc
  • Public building creation and maintenance
  • Sanitation workers
  • Dog control
  • And the list goes on and on

So thank a local public works professional today.

Here at Ulrich Planfiling

We at Ulrich Planfiling would like to thank all of the wonderful public works professionals that care for our families and make our lives easier, safer, more enjoyable and more productive. Also, we would like all of the public works professionals that we have had the privilege to work with professionally.
Plan Storage made easy and secure at Jamestown BPU - Celebrate National Public Works Week

Jamestown BPU

Town of Manchester

Asheville Government Offices

Poster Storage Cabinet helps Audubon in their Mission

Poster Storage Cabinet gets “Green” light at Audubon Center




At first the Poster storage cabinet at the Jamestown Audubon was a blueprint cabinet. Including blueprints of the 3-story nature center building, including a nature store, live fish, reptiles and amphibians, solar panels, elevator, and all the electric, HVAC, offices and conference rooms. In addition, there is documentation of the over 600 acres of wetlands. Together with 5 miles of trails, bird blinds, and outbuildings.

As a result, of this need the Audubon chose the Ulrich Minifile to store these blueprints. Because the Minifile provided plenty of storage space. While also providing fire and water protection. Also, the large file folders provide plenty of organization and document protection. Finally, this blueprint cabinet is on heavy duty casters and easily rolls anywhere in the facility. Allowing the staff to keep the cabinet in a closet out of the way until needed.

When word got out to the Naturalists – they had found their Poster Storage Cabinet!

It’s tough to keep a good thing secret. When the naturalists found out about the available storage for large documents in the Ulrich Minifile they knew that this could be the poster storage cabinet they have been looking for.

In detail, in the video below, Katie Finch, naturalist and education coordinator explains how this cabinet aids them in their mission:

Another point is that the Audubon can store a variety of document size in this cabinet.  In the video Katie can easily find the poster she needs among a variety of different sized posters and signs.

Green in Manufacturing and Green in use

During the year, the Audubon Center offers a wide variety of events for people of all ages. Moreover, each of these events requires signs for everything from event parking to signs for each of the activities:

Before we had no central location to store the signs. In addition poor storage conditions caused damage to the signs. In brief, we needed to remake the signs for each event.

“Of course, the Minifile provides a central location for storage. Not to mention the folders organize the signs by event. Consequently, it takes only seconds to retrieve completed signs for each event. While the cabinet keeps the signs and posters in as good or better shape than when stored.” Says Jeff Tome, Senior Naturalist,

The Minifile Poster storage cabinet is used at Jamestown Audubon for blueprint storage, poster storage, and filing signs.

“In addition, the cabinet is so small and mobile; we can keep it tucked away in a storage closet when not in use.

Because the Ulrich Minifile has been a great organizational tool, it allows us to focus more time on our mission to connect people to the environment.”

Of course, we recommend you visit the Audubon center in Jamestown or find one in your area.

They are great places to explore nature with your family and friends.