“Before Shapr3D I hand drew the measurements and bugged my friend who is an engineer to draw up my images on his CAD program. 6 weeks after I downloaded Shapr3D, I’m creating my own designs.”
Customized tray design
Tom Dunstan worked in directional drilling for the past decade but wanted to branch out, so he started up a new business under the name TD Custom Fabrication.
His new venture a steel fabrication business. The company’s main focus is designing and manufacturing tray and canopy setups for 4x4 pickups (better known as ‘utes’ in Australia and New Zealand).
Tom is currently in the process of bootstrapping the business - his goal is to expand his shed to a full-blown workshop. In the meantime, he creates his own part designs based on actual cab chassis measurements and works with manufacturers to produce them.
Concept design and client communication
“Shapr3D lets the client see any modifications they may require, quickly and accurately.”
Each tray Tom creates is customized. He does a lot of research on popular designs in Australia and creatively integrates them into his own designs, while keeping the quality high and costs low. Achieving this is a challenge, so he usually creates around 10-20 concepts in Shapr3D per design.
He has finished products but there is an option to customize some parts on the model. The options are limited, otherwise, it wouldn't be cost effective to manufacture -- he strives to keep at least 85% of the build standard.
Manufacturing the tray
Once Tom is ready with the tray’s 3D model, he prepares the 2D components for cutting.
He sends it straight to the CNC machine, gets it cut and folded, and looks at how they fit together.
Assembled tray design
He’s outsourcing manufacturing until he has enough business to invest a significant amount into the workshop.
“I work with manufacturers. Shapr3D is my most important tool because I have limited resources and I need to develop my components so that the build time is very minimal to maximize my return.”
After Tom receives the cut steel components, he builds the tray in 2 days to see if everything fits. Once it does, it will be stripped down and sent to powder coating.
With the powder coating finalized he can wrap the project up, taking the client's car for about 2 days to mount and wire up the tray.