How Makers Can Provide Support in the Midst of COVID-19

Around the world, countries are being hit hard by the COVID-19 virus. Hospitals and medical facilities are filling to capacity faster than they can discharge patients, businesses are being forced to close due to stay-at-home orders, and the world is experiencing a shortage of medical necessities such as ventilators, face masks, eye protection, and other essential PPE.

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CNC materials: the truth about titanium

In the world of CNC machining, and even manufacturing in general, titanium seems to be held in the highest of regards. NASA uses it, so there has to be some validity to that. We see and hear it all the time from customers and those interested in buying a Tormach CNC Machine: “So, can this thing cut titanium?” Now, that’s a valid question if you’re planning on running a CNC machined titanium project, but more often than not people only use titanium as a litmus test for a CNC machine because the thought is often ‘If it can cut titanium, it can cut anything/'

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Tantalum: My New Favorite Metal?

We recently had a customer ask about the PCNC 770 and its cutting capabilities. After some conversation about the machine’s ability to cut anything that you can put under the spindle – it all just depends on feeds, speeds, and how long it takes to cut – the customer cut to the chase: “Can it mill Tantalum?” Never heard of Tantalum? It raised a few eyebrows around here as well. This metal is found on the periodic table under transition metals and is just a few columns away from platinum. Tantalum is renowned for its ability to resist corrosion by acids and an extremely high melting point of 3017° C, as well as being highly conductive of both electricity and heat. Tantalum finds itself in many of the electronics we use every day, being used to make capacitors and high-power resistors. But, what’s more interesting, we also see this hard metal being used in alloys for making everything from superalloys for jet engines and nuclear reactors to making carbide tools for metalworking. So, this stuff is used to make the tools used to make things. Tantalum is also bioinert, which means it does not initiate a response or interact when introduced to biological tissue. Because of this bioinertness, combined with a high stiffness, Tantalum is used in a number of surgical instruments and implants. It’s also non-magnetic, which means that implants made out of tantalum are safe in MRI machines and the like.

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Machining Isn’t Just for Machinists

The Tormach mission is focused on enabling the ideas of our many users, who find themselves at varying levels of knowledge and skill when it comes to machining. CNC machining has often been restricted to those with the means to house massive manufacturing machinery and those with the knowledge-base to keep from crashing said machinery. Even those in highly technical fields have previously been relegated to outsourcing their manufacturing and prototyping efforts because of the cost and learning curve of using CNC machinery. Now, Tormach has an array of scientists and researchers using our machines to put together some of the world’s more complex experiments. NASA has several Tormach mills that are used to do everything from prototyping components that will eventually end up in space to wrapping wire and milling brackets for nano-satellites that will also end up in space. That being said, rocket scientists also act as machinists at NASA. Inprentus is a startup company in Champaign, IL that uses their PCNC 770 to make components and workholdings for their high-precision CNC machine. Making refraction gratings for the likes of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory isn’t a business that can be taken lightly, but the team of scientists found the sweet spot in prototyping and quick manufacturing with their mill. A field that we’ve seen grow quickly is the study of microfluidics. Edmond Young, Ph.D.  is the director and supervisor at the Laboratory of Integrative Biology and Microengineered Technologies (IBMT) at the University of Toronto, and a Tormach PCNC 770 was one of the first pieces of equipment he purchased for the lab. He says, “Given the combination of affordability, rapid turnaround times, and ease of setting up, it was an easy decision to incorporate the system into my lab’s plans when I move to Toronto.” His work on developing microfluidic devices has been published in many peer-reviewed journals, including Lab on a Chip, where he discussing micromilling with his Tormach mill. 

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Medical Device Product Development on the Fast Track: Sophono’s Alpha Hearing System

Biomedical device startup Sophono, Inc. is revolutionizing severe hearing loss treatment. With the help of a Tormach PCNC 770 CNC Mill, the Boulder, Colorado medical device manufacturer has developed the Alpha System ™, the world's first abutment-free implantable bone conduction hearing device.

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From Prototype to Improving Lives: PCNC in the Medical Device Industry

Lukas Eiserman, owner and president of Eisertech, LLC—manufacturer of spinal implants and surgical instruments—uses PCNC as a core part of his business. What started as prototypes in Eiserman's home garage are now improving the quality of lives across the United States.

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