Nov 21

Selecting the right material for a design – hands on manual

Material library

Material selection library

While working on a physical project, there’s a need to design parts, as chassis, parts of mechanisms, covers – and many more, even that there is an easy option to use pre-modeled parts as mentioned in my previous article (and in more to come). whether you use 3D CAD software such as Solidworks, Creo, Fusion360, inventor or even doing it the old way with pencil and paper, there comes a time to choose the right material to meet the requirements from the part.There are few practical steps in the material selection process, and in this article they will be based on a design case for a heat sink design. the article will show how using the web resources can ease the process and make it quick and productive.

The steps

The steps for selecting material will be as follows:

  • Selecting the right material
  • Finding a general purpose supplier, to learn what are the practical forms that this material can be supplied
  • Finding a specialty supplier that may have the material in more suitable form for the requirements.

These steps are quite similar whether its a metal for crane chassis or cloth for new sport shoe design.

Note – The suppliers in this article are ones that I use, but there are many more that serve the exact goal general/specialty supplier.

Since our design case is heat sink (Passive heat exchanger that transfers the heat generated by an electronic or a mechanical device to a fluid medium) we will start our design process by looking for the the right material, we can search the literature  or ask google “heat sink material” that will lead us through Wikipedia to find that aluminum is commonly used as heat sink material, and to be more specific Aluminium alloy 1050A. 

Heat sink

Step 1: Material selection using “Matweb” website

In order to learn some more about the material proposed in Wikipedia, Browsing to Matweb is very useful, MatWeb’s searchable database of material properties includes data sheets of polymers, metals, ceramics, and other engineering materials. results for Aluminum 6063 give us additional information about the different variations for this material and other important properties. Now, we have the material properties,  but we need to find actual  material that we can use, so the next step is materials supplier.

Material selection website

Step 2: Finding how the selected material is supplied using Scope website

Scope is a material supplier, I use often but there are many local suppliers, they all work by the same scheme – big stock and good website, you buy the amount from them or from their sub-suppliers (for small amounts), for our case Aluminum 6063 comes in various sizes so we can mill it and shape it to the exact heat sink we need, BUT maybe we can make it easier and faster ?!

Step 3: Searching for a specialty supplier for solutions using BTI-2XL website

Since heat sink is a known solution, and commonly used, maybe there is a supplier that sells pre-made units or profiles ? short search lead to BTI-2XL, small specialty supplier, and browsing in their site shows they have the exact heat sink that match the needs.




Choosing the right material for the designed part is a major step in the design process, in this article it was shown how to use the internet to find the right material that will answer the need, understanding that there are material suppliers (based on the supply area) and a big time saver and design aid is a material specialty supplier,  which can shorten the supply and design time with pre-made supplies.

The principal for material selection can be used to all material selection – the suppliers and sites may change but the working principle stays the same, nevertheless that are some times that a special material is required and a unique processing is applied, but this is a minority of the cases, unfortunately 😉

Nov 13

Online professional electrical and mechanical suppliers

In this post I will review major mechatronics suppliers (electrical and mechanical), these are who supply the motors, cabling, screens, LEDS, buttons, tools etc’. There are many suppliers: Mouser, Digikey, Rs Components, Arrow and many more. All offer good equipment, specifications and delivery. Essential for any project.

So, In the previous post I explained how to get 3D CAD models of the mechanical part required for the project, I’ll bet that most of the projects these days integrate some kind of electro-mechanical integration whether it will be small IOT device or 15[m] production line machine.

Stepper motor

Example: finding stepper motor (electrical mechanical part)

Let’s dive directly to the practicals – and get a stepper motor for our project, (used in every 3D printer, robot and printer) we can either browse through the menus:

Apply the filters and get the desired stepper motor (Or you can use the search option).

Important note:

One important note about these sites, they will stock the common items, and give you general idea of what is available in the market (very important) but if a special actuator is needed – more accurate, energy saver, faster, or any other feature – it will require much deeper research work in finding the right product and supplier, Good luck!

Nov 09

Faster 3D CAD design using online parts libraries

In this article I’ll explain how to 3D design faster by using on-line  parts libraries. Simple yet powerful method of saving time and building professional 3D CAD models is using online parts libraries. Selecting the desired component and  importing the 3D model into your CAD software is a time saver, McMaster-Carr site will also be reviewed as such source.

3D CAD Models – Time saver!!

As an mechanical design engineer, I am used to design parts and assemblies – following a specification (written on ice… ;)) and the time frame (yesterday) and – off I go, designing something that does this and that.

Heading to the CAD station (may it be Solidworks, Creo, Fusion 360 or any other) and start gathering the data to your work space, there are the major parts that need to be designed, mostly manufactured by the relevant technology (CNC, 3D printing, Sheet metal, milling, turning, laser cutting). BUT there are lots of items that still need to be included in the design such as bearings, springs, bolts,nuts, motors. All of these parts are needed to be in the assembly, but there’s ABSOLUTELY NO NEED to model them manually.

First – the principle – there’s no real need to model a M6x20 mm bolt or bearing 6902zz  since there are practically thousands of those models out there, you need to get one made and import it into your CAD environment. the files are stored in various sites and multiple file formats and after mastering the import process you’ll have thousands of parts ready to be integrated into your designs. you need to find the right site that stores them and download it in your favorite CAD format.

Using McMaster

McMaster McMaster-Carr is a big site with lots of parts, in all aspects of engineering, has parts from small needle bearings to generator sets and cranes.

The catalog is graphic and quite straight forward, by navigating through images and filters.

Here’s the selection screen for ball bearing model, Initially you choose filter the parameters:and then, click the link to download the CAD model the the desired format (.prt/.stp/.sldprt):

There are many more sites that share 3D models and useful information for mechanical design, that will be reviewed in the following posts,so keep posted!



Dec 26

KeerBot is Going to Bezalel Academy

Long time not seen – But Keerbot is back and is visiting the #1 art school! been busy in real life tasks and left this blog quiet for a while, and I am writing this post since KeerBot is Going to Bezalel Academy !!!


Some happy (unfortunately not technical) things happened – I got phonecall from an advertisment agency few months ago and they wanted to make a cooperation with me – but it didn’t eventually happen, and now for the really fun story – a friend of mine study at Bezalel in Jerusalem, and told me that my Keerbot project was mentioned by the lecturer. I felt proud, and immediately contacted the lecturer Dr Sarit Youdelevich to say thanks, and she invited me to give a lecture about KeerBot 

KeerBot Bezalel Lecture flyer

KeerBot Bezalel Lecture flyer


The lecture is planned to be on Dec 31, 2015. I’ll share the presentation and how it went in the next post. hope this will give me some encourgement to get back working on this project …

In the meanwhile you can have a look at my newest project (published last week) DIY Nail Puller, in my Instructables website.

DIY Nail Puller

DIY Nail Puller

Sep 01

RC Submarine Hack – Android controller (Arduino, Android, Submarine, Bluetooth)

For the new Instructables contest, New project: RC Submarine Hack – involves Arduino, Android, Submarine and, Bluetooth, For exact details and how-to see the here, downloads are below:

  • Arduino Sketch .ino – here (right click and download – might need to change file extension to .ino)
  • AppInventor .aia – here (right click and download – might need to change file extension to .aia)


 The (yet) UNHACKED RC submarine


Aug 05

Maker Must have – AfterShip – free package tracking service

As a maker, I order many items from all over the world (eBay, Aliexpress, DealExtreame, Seeed Studio, Amazon ,BangGood…). The probem is after I order them, I wait patiently for the packages. Until now I had to enter to each supplier and track the delivery via their site. NO MORE! – AfterShip – free package tracking service, does it for me.

AfterShip Logo

The procedure is simple – you open an account here, and then you can insert all of your tracking to one place and track them. The service supports over 200 carriers, all over the world, its free, and lately they published also mobile applications (AfterShip Android App, AfterShip iPhone app).

AfterShip Menu imageAfterShip can track your delivery, Send you notifications (email/sms), you can personalize the service or even integrate it into your site! I found it very useful and I think you might too. Enjoy.

Open AfterShip accout

Jul 17

5 Making blogs that you must visit

In this post I will tell you about 5 making blogs that you must visit, I read them whenever they publish something new using my favorite RSS reader Feedly . The blogs vary from makers who describe their projects to blogs that surf the net and find good articles to share. If you know of other blogs that I may like, feel free to share!

LogiMover: A Clever Approach to Pallet Moving using Distributed Robots

LogiMover: A Clever Approach to Pallet Moving using Distributed Robots

DIY 3D Printing – If you’re into 3D printing at home, you must read this blog, reviews 3D printers, 3D printing hacks, software, and news from many sources. This is a true making blogs, Recommended!

Robot Arms

Robot Arms

Marginally Clever – A maker I look up to (and mentioned few times in my blog), innovative and social (Vancouver hackerspace founder) always developing somthing new and also tries with growing success to make a living out of it (Go Dan!)




IEEE Robotics blog – IEEE is a professional organization of electrical engineers, this is their official robotics blog, many items are presented first here – give lots of project ideas, and links to making blogs, and also has a great weekly robotics review on Fridays.

SupraPed Robots

SupraPed Robots Will Use Trekking Poles to Hike Across Rough Terrain








 Dr. Monk’s DIY Electronics Blog – A pro blogger that also publish books, writes mainly about micro controllers in general: Arduino, Raspberry – pi, IOIO, Python, Beaglebone, professional and might get too technical but has very deductive approach + twitter account.

Raspberry Pi B+

Raspberry Pi B+








 Hizook {Robotics news for academics and professionals} – Besides it’s bizarre name, one of the good ones, review robotic companies, ideas, Robotics VCs, and always from a fresh approach. if you had enough of the same 2 axis 3d printers and look for something really innovative – this is the destination.

Dragonfly by TechJect

Dragonfly by TechJect


Jun 10

KeerBot is getting ready for the Show – WOW !

As you probably remember from my previous posts (here and here) Keerbot is going to be presented in an art exhibition about open source. and here is the press release (Hebrew), I am quite happy that they offered us to show the project – I say us because most of the job is being done by Danny now – Android Application (Download link here).

KeerBot and cabin

The good news – Its alive ! It can move – up and down, left to right, which will be quite cool in the gallery, regarding art – there won’t be much – maybe some basic paintings, so you’ll have to stay tunes to the next versions of the app.

In the meanwhile you can have a look at the short video showing that it really work.