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3-D CNC, Inc. Your source for engineering and manufacturing. Located in Hutchinson, MN 55350

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3-D CNC Celebrates 25th Anniversary

This article is a reprint of an original article posted by the Hutchinson Leader. View the original article here.

3-D CNC employee David Munsch is shown measuring a part with the Trimos height gauge. Quality control is a major component of the Hutchinson company’s service to customers.When Bob Malone and Randy Dague established 3-D CNC 25 years ago as a two-man operation in an office little bigger than a closet, they really didn’t have a vision of the future that showed them employing almost 30 people in a 14,000-square-foot building. But that is where they are today.

3-D CNC Inc. (the letters CNC represent computer numerical control) is celebrating 25 years as a precision manufacturer this year. Malone and Dague teamed up because they saw a niche in the manufacturing industry using the latest technologies. The original focus of the business was the sales, support and training of computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing software.

3-D CNC today is a precision technology manufacturer specializing in precision tooling, wire EDM services, close tolerance component parts, automated manufacturing equipment, and prototypes. It serves customers in the computer, medical, electronic, aerospace and industrial equipment industries.

“We started with programming for CAD/CAM for early PC use in the tool and die industry,” Dague said this past week. One of their first pieces of equipment was a used $75 tape winder for punched tapes that ran machines. They delivered punched tapes that customers used to run their machines. Later, they helped companies hook computers directly to machines.

“We just kept moving forward with the idea to be a top tool and die shop,” Malone added. In the early 1990s, the business transitioned into precision tooling and component manufacturing with the purchase of a Mitsubishi 90SB wire electrical discharge machine and Milltronics Partner I vertical machining center.

That was followed in 1995 with its move into a new 6,000-square-foot building along Fifth Avenue Southeast in Hutchinson’s industrial park to accommodate business growth. The new building, four times the size of the old facility, increased the capabilities and capacity of the company.

The facility was expanded in 1998 and include the addition of a state-of-the-art Wire EDM room, quality lab and new surface grinding department. A second expansion in 2004 expanded the building to the current size of 14,000 square feet.

A LEAN future

Today, while the company still has many customers in the Hutchinson area and across Minnesota, it also serves manufacturers across the country, especially on the West Coast, and with an expanding presence in the East, Canada and Mexico. “Our business has definitely changed with technology,” Dague said. “We’ve changed to adapt with customers’ changing needs.”

One change is an increased emphasis on marketing in recent years, Malone added. 3-D CNC is continuing to find ways to improve operations. Earlier this year, 3-D CNC met with Enterprise Minnesota and industry peers in multiple marketing roundtable meetings. The goal of the meetings was to develop a marketing plan to reach new customers and enhance relationships with current customers.

The company is empowering employees by becoming a lean manufacturer. A team of employees has been formed to review and recommend changes to current operations with consultation from Enterprise Minnesota. Malone and Dague believe that LEAN manufacturing will lead to improved efficiency, quicker lead times, and a reduction in scrap and rework.

“We want to empower the employees to make the decisions,” Dague said.

News Archive

Haas VM3: Larger Size, Larger Possibilities

Earlier this year, we purchased a brand-new Haas VM3. With an envelope of 40” X 26” X 25”, the VM3 is our largest machining center yet. The new machine has helped increase our capabilities to better serve your needs.

The large size of the VM3 allows us to machine several precision parts in a single setup. With multiple fixtures in place, the machine can accommodate one to hundreds of parts, depending on part size. This reduces cycle time with fewer tool changes.

One of our customers had large plates which required precision hole placement. Utilizing the VM3, we were able to manufacture precision holes to the exact customer specifications. With the large working envelope of the VM3, we are able to machine precision features on plates up to 24” X 36” in size.

The latest addition to our shop has played a role in shortening our lead times, meeting the tightest delivery requirements.

Improvement with Chick Work-holding Solutions

Resulting from our experience at this years IMTS we invested in Chick Work-holding Solution precision sub-plates along with single and double lock vices to help us with setup reduction and more increasing productivity.

Chick Work-holding Solutions double lock design reduces cycle times and reduces time chip to chip. With the ability to run multiple part setups we are now able to get more of your parts done faster.

QwikChange is a Chick innovation that allows you to set up CNC milling jobs faster, change jaws faster, and hold parts with greater repeatability and accuracy. QwikChange also provides faster part changes, accurate repeatability, no jaw lift, and customized fixturing.

All of these innovations start with an improvement in our process, and end results with a lower cost part delivered to you in less time.

Low Volume Production Runs

3-D CNC, Inc. has a new promotional video specifically focusing on our ability to manufacture low volume stamping parts.

By using our alternative process we can meet your needs without the cost of expensive tooling for your low volume parts.

The benefits of our process are cost effective prototypes, rapid engineering changes with shorter lead times, and lower volume production runs. For more information contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Marketing Campaign with SMSU

Southwest Minnesota University LogoAs mentioned in our July Newsletter we have partnered with Southwest Minnesota State University to develop a new marketing campaign. We are privileged to put our heads together with these experienced staff members and students. If you have not noticed, thanks to SMSU, we have developed a cutting edge new logo, and incorporated it wherever possible. Also we have completed a mailing campaign to increase our reach into the market. This would not have been possible without the help of the Small Business Job Act. To join our bi-monthly newsletter please fill out the contact us form located to your right.

Improving Quality, Capacity & Pricing

3-D CNC has recently acquired a 2012 HAAS VF-2SS Vertical Machine Center.

This machine is equipped with through the spindle coolant, and super speed rapid traverse.

Our new machine is one of many improvements that we have made to increase productivity and total capacity.

CAMWorks VoluMILL has been implemented, which is a CAM software enhancement that enables deeper axial depths of cuts and higher feed rates. This investment was essential to shorten our lead times and maintain competitive pricing.

In response to increased customer demand 3-D CNC has increased our staff to include two more highly skilled machinists. These individuals will join our team by training in the Quality Control Lab and learning the importance of our commitment to quality.

uniPoint Management Software

3-D CNC, Inc. recently incorporated uniPoint Management Software. uniPoint is a quality management software that will improve many of the already great attributes that we possess. uniPoint is integrated with JobBOSS, our manufacturing resource planning software.

With uniPoint in place all NC (non-conformance) forms and CPA ( corrective preventive actions) forms will become paperless. This will speed up time and enhance communication between the different processes. Communication between shifts will also improve because employees will receive notices of non-conformance, and will have the ability to monitor corrective preventive actions . uniPoint will also improve tool calibration and maintenance by keeping on time records to assure quality manufacturing.

Contact www.unipointsoftware.com or www.exactamerica.com for more information on either managment software.

Modern Machine Shop, July 2011

Modern Machine Shop posted an article in July of 2011 talking about 3-D CNC, Inc. and our ability to produce intricate parts with tight tolerances.

"For this precision manufacturer, keeping inspections cost-effective required a system that could provide both high accuracy and reduced measuring times. The Prismo navigator CMM from Zeiss delivered both, along with additional, unexpected benefits."

Read the whole article here!

New Zeiss CMM Arrives

3-D CNC, Inc. announces the acquisition of a new Zeiss Prismo Navigator S-ACC coordinate measuring machine. Software included in the purchase is the Calypso package with Calypso Curve and HOLOS-NT supporting software packages.{showhide +params}

Zeiss CMM The system is a higher end measurement machine with accuracy of with in plus or minus .00002". The measurement envelope includes an X range of 27.6", a Y range of 35.4", and a Z range of 19.7".

Ken Wraspir, 3-D CNC Quality Manager stated, "The Zeiss system adds a new measurement element that best supports our current customer base and all future 3-D CNC customers."

The system will compliment current 3-D CNC quality inspection options by offering a highly accurate, fast and efficient three-dimensional measurement tool.

The system is now available as a value added service to our customers. Feel free to contact any 3-D CNC representative to find out more about this exciting new service or to answer any technical questions about the system.{/showhide}

New Agie Agiecut Vertex 2F Wire EDM Machine

3-D CNC, Inc. announces the acquisition of a new Agie Agiecut Vertex 2F high end wire EDM machine. The machine was operational 10/5/06, and compliments our existing line of Charmilles wire EDM machines. {showhide +params}

Agie Vertex 2F Wire EDM MachineThe Agiecut Vertex 2F machine is considered a new generation of wire EDM technology. In sample process testing prior to the purchase, the machine displayed surface finishes in the 3 to 4 RMS range in carbide. Surface profile accuracy of .00018" over 1.75" in thickness was measured on a carbide punch.

Other important features of the machine include the user friendly Windows XP based controller and the time saving capability of not having to change wire guides when switching wire sizes.

The machine offers new capabilities for 3-D CNC, Inc. including smaller wire size down to .0012" diameter and faster cutting speeds up to 21 square inches per hour greatly reducing manufacturing cycle times.

3-D CNC, Inc. co-owner Randy Dague explained, "The new IPG-V digital power supply combined with the Windows XP operating system provides the next generation higher end technology for wire EDM."

Coming in early 2007, will be another new Agie wire EDM machine; the Agiecut Progress V2.{/showhide}

New Agie, Agiecut Progress V2 WEDM Machine

Complimenting the Agie, Agiecut Vertex 2F WEDM machine purchased in late 2006, is the Agie, Agiecut Progress V2 WEDM machine acquired in early 2007. The two machines provide 3-D CNC, Inc. with the next generation of high-end WEDM precision technology. The Vertex 2F offers unmatched accuracy and surface finish with exceptional cutting speeds while the Progress V2 offers nearly comparable accuracy and surface finish with double the cutting speed of the Vertex 2F. {showhide +params}

Agiecut Progress V2 WEDM MachineThe Progress V2 is considered the high-end work horse of the three Charmilles WEDM machines and the two Agie WEDM machines at 3-D CNC, Inc. The machine cuts at an amazing 47 square inches per hour making it ideal for precision production type work. Wire size can go down to .003" diameter. A big time saver for the operator is he/she does not have to change wire guides when switching wire sizes in the machine. Surface finishes in the 5 to 6 RMS range can be achieved on a consistent basis.

Important time saving features found on both Agie machines include: A user friendly Windows XP based controller combined with an IPG-V digital power supply, advanced wire off-set which aides in tipping the cutting wire during the cutting process to compensate for irregular material erosion producing precise tolerance and cylindricity control, wire bend control producing smoother radius transitions on smaller part radius cutting, and probing capabilities to probe the top surface of a part to adjust the cutting wire perpendicular to part datum features.

3-D CNC, Inc. can now offer customers a variety of unique high-end precision technology WEDM capabilities. The wire EDM department at 3-D CNC, Inc. runs week days 24-hours per day and offers a week-end shift to minimize lead times. {/showhide}

New Haas VM-2 & Haas TM-2 Vertical Machining Centers

After 3-D CNC, Inc. acquired CAMWorks CNC programming software in 2006, it didn't take long to realize the opportunity the software presented with the potential upgrade of our machining center capabilities. This upgrade was accomplished early in 2007 with the purchase of a Haas VM-2 and a Haas TM-2 vertical machining centers. The two machines were purchased for different reasons, but ultimately together, form a vital link enhancing our CNC programming capability with improved machining accuracy and speed.{showhide +params}

Haas VM-2 & Haas TM-2 Vertical Machining CentersThe Haas VM-2 vertical machining center features a 30-hp in-line dual direct drive 12,000-rpm 40-taper spindle. The machine came equipped with a probing option used to efficiently pick-up part features and provide in-process dimensional verifications. In addition to the machine's excellent accuracy and impressive speed, it offers improved machining rigidity allowing for specific hard milling applications.

The Haas TM-2 vertical machining center was purchased to offer ease of operation along with extreme flexibility. It is designed to be used in any of three modes of operation: manual, combined manual and fully programmable CNC, and fully programmable CNC. The machine is highly accurate in either mode making it the machine of choice over standard tool room mills. Future plans include replacing existing tool room mills at 3-D CNC, Inc. with additional TM-2 machines.

Both machines have enhanced our ability to utilize the technology of solid model programming to efficiently machine close tolerance prototype and small run production parts.{/showhide}

3-D CNC breaks ground in Hutchinson Industrial Park.

3-D CNC, Inc a machine tool and die manufacturer broke ground in the Hutchinson Industrial Park last week and plans are to have a new 6,000 square-foot plane operational by December 15 of this year, according to Randy Daque, Company CEO.

The new facility is expected to be four times the size of the company's current facility located at 106 Erie Street in Hutchinson.

The company began operations by incorporating on June 5, 1989. The two stockholders, Randy Dague and Robert Malone opened the business with the hoe of finding a niche in the computer numerical control of machine tool and die making and manufacturing.

The company's goal is to supply manufacturers with high quality, quick turn-around, precision tooling prototypes and short-run production. Specializing in three dimensional machining and four axis wire EDM.

The Hutchinson Community Development Corp has been working with 3-D CNC representatives for several months on the possibility of relocating to the Industrial Park.

Groundbreaking on new 3-D CNC facilityOn hand for the start of building at 3-D CNC's new facility in Hutchinson Industrial Park were (from left) Mary Beth Schaufler of HCDC, 3-D NCN employees Linda Duesterhoeft, Darin Opatz, Robert Malone, Randy Dague, Mayer Marlin Torgerson, Hutchinson Community Development Director Dick Lennes, Art Hagen of Raske Building Systems and Dave Hall of 3-D CNC.   (Originally printed in the Hutchinson Leader. Staff photo by Richard Crawford.)