Capabilities and software

Within the Technical Division it is mainly Mikael Blom who works with mechanical construction and CAD design, but also other members can provide support in this area. Up till now mechanical drafting has mainly been done using the CAD tools I-DEAS or Solid Edge, but the division also has licenses for Siemens NX and CATIA. In addition, the department has one SolidWorks license. For those who want to do mechanical design themselves and draft their own drawings, the university offers an academic license for Solid Edge that can be downloaded and used by Stockholm University employees.

Some of our mechanical services:

  • General consulting in mechanical design
  • CAD design
  • Technical advice on design and selection of materials
  • Close collaboration with the mechanical workshop
  • Assembly and mounting of experimental equipment
  • Design and assembly of support structures for optical table enclosures
  • Front plates and enclosures for electronics

Projects

The Technical Division has been strongly involved in the mechanical design and construction of many of the experiments found at the Department of Physics. The tasks have varied from single precision parts over support structures for e.g. optical table enclosures to more or less complete systems. Some of the projects the Technical Division presently works on or has been involved in:

3D printing

Ultimaker 3 3D printer, foto: Patrik Löfgren
Ultimaker 3 3D printer

The Technical division can now also provide a 3D printing service. With the newly acquired Ultimaker 3 3D printer we can print mechanical parts and prototypes in a range of different plastic materials.

On the Ultimaker website you find a complete list of printable materials and information on material compatibility and supported material combinations.

Materials kept in stock are black, orange and silver metallic PLA (the standard 3D printing material) as well as the support material PVA (see below). Other materials can be ordered upon request. The printer build volume is 215 x 215 x 200 mm (XYZ). With the mounted 0.4 mm nozzle a resolution of 12.5, 12.5, 2.5 micron (XYZ) and a layer resolution between 200 and 20 micron can be achieved. With its dual extrusion technology it can print models in two colors or make use of a water-soluble support material (PVA, polyvinyl alcohol) to create support structures for more complex geometries.

The Ultimaker 3 software Ultimaker Cura can be downloaded for free from the Ultimaker website (https://ultimaker.com/en/products/ultimaker-cura-software). Here you will also find different manuals and information on how to use the Cura software. The Cura software supports different file types which can be generated in most common CAD software (in Solid Edge, for example, simply save your part or assembly file as a .3mf file). It is possible to print over the network or via USB (from a memory stick). Network printing adds the possibility to monitor the printing process from a distance.

Tekniska avdelningen 3D-logotyp, foto: Patrik Löfgren
Tekniska avdelningen 3D logotype

3D printing is a rather slow process and should only be used for printing of prototypes or single parts. The printing speed is very dependent on the degree of infill and required resolution. The Cura software will calculate the printing time and material consumption (and cost) before each printout. Small volumes in PLA can be printed for free. For 3D printing of special materials or larger printing volumes in PLA a cost for the material will be charged.

For questions regarding the 3D printing service contact Patrik Löfgren.

The mechanical workshop

The AlbaNova mechanical workshop is not part of the Technical Division, but a shared resource between Fysikum and KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology. It is located on level 1 in the west end of the main building and has a dedicated staff of four workshop technicians.

It should be noticed that support from the Technical Division is free of charge, but work done by the mechanical workshop will be charged per hour. For more information, contact the head of the workshop or the head of the Technical Division.

The engineering performed in the mechanical workshop ranges from precision parts to the fabrication of relatively large assemblies, many of which operate in special environments, at cryogenic temperatures and/or under ultra high vacuum. The workshop staff is used to deal with everything from very loosely defined projects (pencil sketches) to professional CAD drawings. They can offer technical advice on design and material selection and have experience of working with a large variety of materials, including but not limited to, aluminium, stainless steel, copper, plastics, ceramics, steels, titanium, and exotic materials. To shorten the lead time the workshop keep in stock a relatively large supply of different standard materials.

Available machines

The mechanical workshop offers a wide range of traditional machining, cutting, drilling and sawing services. Capabilities include CNC (Computer Numerical Control) lathes, CNC milling machines and a CNC wire eroder machine as well as a comprehensive range of conventional workshop machines.

In addition the workshop can provide services in more specialized areas like hard soldering (brazing) and welding for vacuum applications (UHV), as well as leak testing of vacuum components and systems manufactured in the workshop. For leak testing of vacuum systems in general see the page about vacuum technology.

A detailed list of the different workshop machines and tools can be found here.

Support from the mechanical workshop can be sought via the head of the workshop.

How to proceed

The mechanical workshop is often very busy and in order to rationalize the manufacturing process (and shorten the lead time) there are a few things to consider before approaching the mechanical workshop.

Checklist:

  • Consult the Technical Division (TA) to make a CAD drawing of your design
  • Review the drawing/design with a technical designer within TA.
  • Check what standard materials and dimensions are available and if they are suitable for your project.
  • Check which dimensions are critical and which are not.
  • Consider if the workshop is the right place for manufacturing.

For services that cannot be provided by the mechanical workshop, don’t hesitate to consult the Technical Division to find solutions.