Hi-Point Firearms and Strassell’s Machine Inc. design, develop, prototype, and manufacture pistol and carbine firearms for sportsmen. Their products are recognized for their excellent value – economic pricing with zero compromise in quality.
As in all industries, global competition has forced Hi-Point and their primary designer-toolmaker, Strassell’s Machine Inc, to consider more productive methods for the design and manufacture of their products. In doing this, Mike Strassell of Strassell’s Machine decided to focus first on the most difficult parts of a firearm to develop – the stock and grip. “Typically these parts start out as lumps of clay or whittled pieces of wood,” explains Mike. “Then, inordinate amounts of time can be invested in developing them into aesthetically correct, ergonomic designs that support higher accuracy while minimizing user fatigue and discomfort.”
After considering many design and manufacturing systems, Strassell’s and Hi-Point decided to implement the VISI suite of product and tooling design and manufacturing software from Vero International because it addressed all aspects of their process automation program. “The thing we liked most about VISI,” explained Mike, “was that it offered us a truly integrated system for automating all our design and manufacturing processes. VISI Modeling’s 3D solid modeling and surfacing capabilities have allowed us to speed our part design process and directly create STL files for plastic part prototyping. When metal part designs are ready, we’re able to immediately begin part machining without translating our product and tooling data into other software products.”
When a final product design has been released, the part designs can be released immediately for the complete development of 3D tooling using VISI Mold. VISI is able to quickly and easily leverage part models forward into the development of complex parting lines, cores, and cavities. Continuing, Mike explains, “VISI Machining is then able to create very efficient 3D tool paths for core and cavity machining. What’s more, the quality of finish in the tooling is so good we are able to start our benching with 400-grit emery.”
The next step in Strassell’s process automation program involves VISI Reverse for reverse engineering. Beginning with point cloud data from laser scans of his clay and wood models of grips and stocks, Mike plans to reduce CAD data development time by directly converting and smoothing point cloud data directly into machinable CAD surfaces. “If we’re successful in implementing our last automation project,” says Mike, “I don’t think any of our competitors will be able to compete with us in our market space; not with our quality… or our price.”