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Nuts about Shipping

Nov 13 2012

I can be a little nuts when it comes to properly shipping out prototypes, but secondary to getting the prototype shipped on time is getting it there without damage.

In my experience with SLA models, I have come across many different delicate features and sizes that make it difficult to ship safely. There are many packing techniques to use such as double boxing and building custom cradles to protect delicate features. Since every part is different I have found that using packaging peanuts is an extremely effective tool to use to ship most parts.

Even though peanuts work well there are certain steps to take in order to get the best results.

  • Using the right size box: When choosing a box you don’t want it to be too small so the parts will not have enough cushion to protect them, or too large causing the shipment cost to rise. I have found that a minimum of 2” of peanuts on each side of the part is a safe size.
  • Free float parts in peanuts: Free floating allows the peanuts to get into all of the tight areas and conform to the part's shape. This helps in a couple of ways. First, it will protect the part from warping since it will have support in every area. Second, if the box takes any abuse, the part will be well protected from breakage because the shock will be evenly distributed across the part.
  • Fill the box with the proper amount of peanuts: When the box is closed the goal is to have the part suspended by the peanuts without creating pressure on the part. Once I pick a box I lay down a bed of peanuts,  put the parts in and fill the box right before the crease line with peanuts.  If you give the box a little agitation it allows the peanuts to really get into all  the tight spots.  It also might lower the peanut height. Finally, refill the box right before the crease line of the flaps if necessary and close the box. The goal is to have the flaps just tap the peanuts when they close so the part doesn’t have any pressure but also has no room to shake around the box when agitated.

Nothing makes me happier than a customer receiving a great part that was shipped on time and undamaged.