About rentapen

Susan Straley, aka Queen of Lean Machine Design, is the President of Rentapen Inc. in Waukesha, WI. She helps manufacturers reduce costs through excellence in 3d desing services, RAPid Tooling Components(TM), and Just-in-Time Laser Cutting Services(TM). Susan can be reached directly at 262-542-8891.

Rentapen Gets Big Views of Educational Video to Teach Machine Tool Design, Weld Jig and Assembly Fixture Design to Mechanical Engineering Students and CAD Drafters.

Rentapen Inc., Weld Fixture Specialists, located in Waukesha, WI, produced and published an educational video for CAD Drafters, Engineering Students, and Manufacturing Engineering Managers that has received over 3,100 views on youtube.

On September 25, 2011 Rentapen Inc., produced a video demonstrating Weld Fixture Design.  Since the video was released it has been viewed over 3,100 times. This 6.5 minute video is one of the top viewed videos on youtube when searching for Weld Fixture Design. There are 46 other videos that Rentapen has developed and placed on youtube and the website that are for educational purposes.

This video provides seven important tips when building a weld fixture.  These tips are designed to help Manufacturing Engineers produce the very best designs. Rentapen Inc., is a custom precision
RAPid Shims™ and RAPid Blocks™ company that takes pride in educating their customers and students in the industry.

“I started my educational Blog, Weld Fixture Design 101, after I learned that 40% of our Engineers in the United States will be retiring in the next 7 years.  I feel strongly that those of us who have been working in design need to share our knowledge with those coming up behind us, so they don’t waste time making the same mistakes we made,” said Susan Straley, Queen of Lean Machine Design
and President of Rentapen.

Engineers and students of Engineering and Machine Tool Design can sign up to be notified every time a new blog is posted by signing up for Education and Updates on the Rentapen website.  However, if you just want to see any new videos, subscribe to Rentapen’s Youtube Channel.

“Instructions on how to see how many views your video has received on Youtube said that a count of 200 views was really good, so I was pretty shocked and pleased to see our video on machine design tips received over 3,000 views,” said Straley










Milwaukee Welding Fixture Specialist Demonstrates Precision Fixtures

Rentapen Inc., discovers 32 different footprints for
creating 3-way adjustments with RAPid Shims™ and RAPid Blocks™.

On November 14, 2012 Rentapen Inc., launched a new page on the Rentapen website introducing 3-way adjustability for RAPid Shims™ and RAPid Blocks™ under the Shims menu dropdown.  These RAPid Tooling Components™ help Engineers save time and also saves time in the machine tool build process.

These newly developed RAPid Shims™ and RAPid Blocks™ create adjustability for locating pins to fit for precision welding.  The locating pin’s position in the weld fixture can be finely tuned before mass production begins.  Precision shims are added or removed between the blocks to make sure the pin is in the right
location.  When in the right location, the final welded product meets product’s tolerance specifications.

Rentapen’s RAPid Shims™ are created with precision sheet metal for fine adjustment of the fixture before welding begins. The RAPid Blocks™ are created with counter-bored hole on both sides for design versatility.

“We knew our RAPid Blocks were versatile, but we were surprised to learn there are actually 32 different ways to position the blocks along with shims to create the 3-way adjustment that is often needed in a precision weld fixture,” said Susan Straley, President and Owner of Rentapen.

In the next few weeks Rentapen Inc., will be producing a “How To” video displaying how 3-way adjustability can be used.  There will be a series of blogs coming out that can be found on the Weld Fixture Design 101 web page that will help describe how to use these tooling components in detail.

“I just posted a blog talking about our standard tolerance on locating pins and the ways to use our RAPid Blocks with shims to create 3-way adjustment in weld and assembly fixtures,” said Straley.



Rentapen wins Award for Excellence in Business

On November 9, Rentapen, Inc, a woman-owned machine tool design and build company was honored for its achievements in exceptional marketing by the Waukesha Award Program.

Rentapen Inc. specializes in weld and assembly fixtures and custom and standard precision shims. The weld jig and assembly fixture design and build company was selected for the 2012 Best of Waukesha Award in the Miscellaneous General Business Services category by the Waukesha Award Program.

Earlier in 2012, Rentapen also was voted one of the Top 10 Businesses in the Waukesha Area by the Waukesha Business Alliance and the Biz Times. That award was based on Customer Service, Growth, and Employee Relations.

Each year, the Waukesha Award Program identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Waukesha area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2012 Waukesha Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Waukesha Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Rentapen
Rentapen works with manufacturers when they are tooling up their factories to produce their products. In response to their customers’ need to reduce the time needed to design and build a fixture, Rentapen developed a line of standard yet versatile components. These components save machine designers and manufacturers time when designing and building their weld and assembly fixtures.

This simple weld fixture contains Rentapens time-saving RAPid Tooling Components(TM)

The product line, called RAPid Tooling Components include clamp risers, blocks, plates and precision shims. They are quickly becoming popular among machine tool designers and have grown to be half of Rentapen’s sales. Thanks to a dynamic website where 3D models of the components can be downloaded and placed easily into designs.

About Waukesha Award Program

The Waukesha Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Waukesha area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Waukesha Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in the Waukesha community. The organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. The Waukesha Award Program’s mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

The Manufacturing Industry Is Booming In America For Employment Opportunities

Companies like Rentapen Inc., a small machine design services company and manufacturer of weld fixture tooling components, thrives along with America’s manufacturing companies.

According to the Business Insider, “Manufacturing is the fourth largest employer and manufacturing is one of the top 3 employers in 25 states, which in includes Wisconsin.”

Rentapen, located in Waukesha, Wisconsin, specializes in weld fixtures for manufacturers. When a company is tooling up their factory to produce their new product and the product contains items that need to be welded together, that company will call Rentapen to design and build a machine tool that they can use to improve efficiency on the production floor. So when manufacturers are developing and bringing new products into production, Rentapen gets busy and starts hiring and training more staff.

Rentapen provides 3D design and build of weld and assembly fixtures. Though Rentapen provided machine design engineering services to manufacturers, Rentapen also is a manufacturer. Producing their line of RAPid Tooling Components that are used on weld and assembly fixtures located on production floors throughout the United States. The line consists of Blocks, Plates, Clamp Risers and Shims.

“We developed the RAPid Tooling Components in response to our need to save time in the design of a weld jig or assembly fixture,” said Susan Straley, President and Owner of Rentapen. “We are seeing a significant growth in the sale of die-sharpening shims, which is a good indicator that manufacturers are producing.”

Die-sharpening shims are thin sheets of metal made with precision shim stock. When a cutting or shaping die is sharpened, a bit of material is a lot on the cutting side of the die. So a shim is placed on the back of the die so that the cutting edge of the die stays in the same location on the stamping machine.
Rentapen serves Wisconsin’s manufacturers and when manufacturers expand, Rentapen’s workforce expands.

Since April 2011, Rentapen has hired five full-time staff which is a significant number when the total employed at Rentapen is 14 people.
According to National Association of Manufacturers figures that place direct manufacturing employment at 11.8 million and indirect employment at 6.8 million. That means a typical manufacturing facility that employs 100 people actually supports 158 jobs, 100 directly and 58 through employment at suppliers. (http://www.wmep.org/sites/default/files/Rockwell_0312_Final.pdf)

Rentapen’s mission is to provide jobs, training, and opportunities for people who work together to help manufacturers reduce the costs of tooling to make their products.

Weld Fixture Tooling Manufacturing Company Launches New Products

Rentapen Inc., a manufacturer of a line of weld fixture tooling components launches two new RAPid Shims™.

Twelve years ago Rentapen’s design engineering team created a line of standard yet versatile weld fixture tooling components, known as RAPid Tooling Components™. This line consists of RAPid Blocks, Plates, Clamp Risers, and Custom and Standard Shims.

Today, Rentapen introduced two brand new shims that machine designers can incorporate into their weld fixture designs. They are the RS-44 and RS-45 (RS standing for Rentapen Shim). The RS-44 is a four slotted shim and the RS-45 is a five slotted shim.

Rentapen created these shims because Rentapen can cut NAAMS shim shapes for their customers and now they have fully definable shims that are considered Rentapen’s standard shims.

“We have added these slotted shims to our down loadable models on our website. We are always innovating and adding to our product line in response to our customers’ needs,” said Susan Straley, President and Owner of Rentapen Inc.

Companies that utilize shims and shim packs can order the RS-44 and RS-45 along with any standard or custom shim from Rentapen Inc. The 3D CAD Models of these shims can be found on Rentapen’s website under the tab ORDER 3D Models.

Rentapen offers many different thicknesses for shims that can be used for work holding fixtures and weld fixtures.

Rentapen offers steel shims, stainless steel shims, metal shims, NAAMS shim shapes, Bridge shims, Adjustment shims, custom sizes and shapes of shims, Reid Tool Supply shim shapes, Die Sharpening Shims, and Douglas shim shapes.

Rentapen’s shims and shim packs are cut with their 150 watt Kern Laser that cuts up to 0.078 inch steel and can run at night without an operator present. This is an important factor that reduces costs and allows Rentapen to win large and small orders for shims.

Tooling Component Manufacturer Offers Shim Packs For Peerless Components

Rentapen Inc., also known as the Shim King, announced adding standard precision shim packs for under Peerless Rest Pad and Peerless Hinge Bushing Plates. The shim packs will save ordering time and make it easier for those manufacturing companies that use Peerless components.

The packs are the standard thicknesses and shim combinations used by several major manufacturers like Catepillar.

“We created these standard packs after meeting with a customer and learning about their needs,” said Susan Straley, Queen of Lean Machine Design, President and Owner of Rentapen.

Rentapen, located in Waukesha, WI, sells hundreds of thousands of shims each year. “We’ve earned the title of the Shim King,” said Straley. “Each pack in a bag, each bag with a tag. We have gained a reputation for quality and on-time delivery.”

Rentapen offers steel shims, stainless steel shims, Die Sharpening shims, NAAMS shim shapes, adjustment shims, custom sizes and shapes of shims, Reid Tool Supply shim shapes, and Douglas Stamping shims. “We use precision shim stock, our shims are de-burred and of high quality,” said Straley.

The new standard shim pack thicknesses include 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, and .250 inch. A page on the web site tells the customer what number goes with what thickness and shape. The shims come with holes or slots.

Metal shims are commonly used to finely adjust the location of how the weld fixture holds the product so that it is welded together within the dimensions set for the product to work well.

A pack of thin metal shim is placed between two components in the fixture. The first component is fixed in place and the second component is attached to the first component with the pack of shims in between. Removing one shim or adding one shim slightly adjusts the location of the second component. This is important to manufacturers who want to have their product’s parts assemble easily after being welded.

Weld Fixture Design Company Joins Manufacturers in Teaching Parents, Students and Teachers

Rentapen Inc., a 3D design services company and tooling components manufacturer helped get the word out other about manufacturing careers on Wisconsin’s Manufacturing Day.

On October 5th 2012, Rentapen opened its doors for tours as part of a big effort by the Waukesha Area Business Alliance, Dream It Do It, and area manufacturers. The effort was to show young people and those that influence them about the career opportunities available in manufacturing.

Manufacturing supports millions of jobs in the US. What Rentapen’s tour participants discovered during their visit was that Rentapen was not only a manufacturer of tooling components, but also an engineering services company.

Manufacturing has an aging workforce and they are seeking to start training skilled machinists as the boomers retire. Engineers will also be retiring soon. It is predicted that 40% of the nation’s engineers will retire in the next 7 years. “More students who have an interest in mechanical things need to be encouraged to take math and be directed toward careers in Engineering and Machining,” said Susan Straley, President of Rentapen.

Machine Design Engineers and Product Design Engineers drive innovation. Manufacturers account for 70% of all private sectors R&D.

Rentapen first started out as a one man mechanical engineering services company, founded by George Straley. Now Rentapen has five members in their Engineering team, including: an Engineering Manager, Chief Engineer, Mechanical Designer, CAD Dafter and a CAD Drafting Intern. Each engineer has a different skill set and level of knowledge. All members of the Engineering team work together designing weld and assembly fixtures for Rentapen’s customers.


Rentapen’s main specialty is weld fixture design. They can design a manual or robotic welding fixtures based on the customer’s needs. Rentapen helps manufacturers that have parts that need to be welded together during production, for example, automotive, agricultural, or recreational vehicles.
Rentapen’s Engineering Team utilizes PRO/ENGINEER and Solidworks for their machine design process.

Rentapen is a small company, but has the benefit of being a company with multiple product areas. For instance, when the engineering department slows down, employees like Emily Young the CAD Drafting Intern can go help out in Rentapen’s shop and assemble and package Rentapen’s custom and standard precision shims and shim packs.

Sales Double For Weld Fixture Tooling Components Company

Rentapen Inc. sees sales of weld and assembly fixture tooling components double.

About twelve years ago Rentapen’s engineering team realized they were designing the same blocks, plates, and shims over and over again. So Rentapen decided to develop a standardized yet versatile line of weld fixture tooling components, known as RAPid Tooling Components™. Rentapen’s RAPid Tooling Components™ can save manufacturing companies, like John Deere and Genesis Systems, time and money per fixture in design and build costs.

In the nine month period since January 2012, Rentapen’s sales of RAPid Tooling Components™ have increased 44 percent.
“Our distributor, E.L. Simeth, is telling us this is just the beginning. Manufacturers are discovering that our die sharpening shims cost less and arrive on time,” said Susan Straley, President and Queen of Lean Machine Design at Rentapen Inc.

RAPid RP02 Bronze

Rentapen has increased their customer base for RAPid Tooling Components™ adding three new customers in September. Rentapen’s factory has been so busy in the past couple months they have had to add a second shift for employees just to keep up. Also, Rentapen has been now seeking another employee that can help the shop team assemble, package, and ship their RAPid Tooling Components™, including their custom and standard metal shims and shim packs.

To go along with Rentapen’s mission to save manufacturers time and money, Rentapen introduced their new web app on March 15, 2012. 3D Models of their components are available for machine design engineers and CAD drafters to download and use in their 3D designs. Rentapen’s 3D CAD Models are for any fixture designer that wants to become more efficient when designing precision weld fixtures.

Rentapen’s increase in shim and tooling component sales are a result of an overall trend in Manufacturing in the Midwest. Manufacturers in the Midwest are growing in sales and investing in machine tooling.

“Manufacturing engineers are becoming aware of the time savings provided by our modular component system and the precision of the finished welded product that Rentapen offers to those engineers,” said Straley. “They are designing our products into their weld fixtures and jigs.”

Custom Machine Tooling Company Is Participating In National Manufacturing Day

Rentapen, a manufacturer of weld fixture components, is taking part in Wisconsin’s Manufacturing Month in October.

In Wisconsin, October has been selected as Manufacturing Month and October 5th is National Manufacturing Day. Rentapen was invited by the Waukesha County Business Alliance and the Waukesha County Manufacturing Alliance to take advantage of the opportunity to network with students, parents and local school districts in an effort to change the misperceptions about careers in the manufacturing industry. It is an opportunity to educate students and parents about exciting careers that are available in manufacturing in Waukesha County.

Rentapen is a machine design and build company that manufacturers weld fixture components, known as RAPid Tooling Components™. These are versatile components which consist of blocks, plates, clamp risers and shims. Rentapen manufacturers RAPid Tooling Components™ because it saves engineering and build time for manufacturing companies like John Deere and Case New Holland.

Rentapen wanted to participate in the National Manufacturing Day because it ties into their mission, which states that Rentapen provides jobs, training, and opportunities for people who work together to help manufacturers reduce costs of tooling to make their products.


In the past two months Rentapen has welcomed three new employees. First was a new mechanical engineer, Randy McAloon, who joined the engineering team helping out with design a weld fixtures. Then Rentapen welcomed two interns from Waukesha County Technical College, John Ward and Emily Young. Both of which help out in the engineering department doing CAD Drafting and in the factory, assembling and packaging Rentapen’s metal cut shims and shim packs.

On Friday October 5th, Rentapen will open their doors to students, parents, and school districts to come tour their facility in Waukesha. There are three scheduled tour times available to sign up for: 1:00-1:45 p.m., 1:45-2:30 p.m., and 2:30-3:15. Please register in advance by Wednesday October 3rd, to Susan Straley. Susan Staley is the President and Owner of Rentapen Inc. she can be reached at 262.542.8891.

Mechanical Engineering Student Intern Returns to Weld Fixture Design Company

In September Rentapen Inc., weld jig and fixture specialist,welcomes back their summer CAD Drafter Intern.

On September 4, Emily Young began as a part-time CAD Drafter at Rentapen, a Weld Fixture (Weld Jig) Design and Build Company in Waukesha, WI.

Rentapen is involved with WCTC’s Internship Program, which is an opportunity for companies to hire students for a period of time in order for the students to gain more workforce experience.  Last June Young worked as an intern at Rentapen doing CAD drafting.  She alsoworked on the CAD library of parts and created some models of new RAPid Tooling Components.

Young worked at Rentapen for the month of June as a summer intern at Rentapen, now she will continue to do CAD drafting at Rentapen during the school year. Young is studying Mechanical Design Technologies at WCTC.  She first came to Rentapen to do a job-shadow.  She shadowed one of the 3D CAD Designers to get a feeling of what Rentapen does on a daily basis.


“Emily was quick to learn and has a mind that enjoys working in CAD and working with machines,” said Susan Straley, President and Owner of Rentapen.  “Her face lit up when we took her to the shop and showed her the machine we built that she had modeled in CAD in June.  It’s a sign of a true Mechanical Geek to get excited to see your 3D models turned into steel and a working machine.”

Young joins Rentapen’s engineering team twice a week to gain real on-the-job experience involving weld fixture designs. Young also has been learning how to detail design work.

“It is important for students of engineering to get hands on experience in a real working environment,” said Straley.  “Internships are a great way for Engineering Firms and Manufacturers like Rentapen to try out new talent.  Are they trainable? Do they have a good attitude? Do they fit into our culture of integrity and customer focus?”

In the summer Young updated the Pro Engineer (Pro/E) library for Rentapen’s RAPid Tooling Components™ and frequent purchased parts, for instance RAPid Clamp Risers™. Young also learned to do production drawings and helped out with shipping and receiving.

Rentapen’s RAPid Tooling Components™ was developed by Rentapen’s engineering team when they found they were designing the same blocks, plates and risers over and over again in their weld fixture designs.  RAPid Tooling Components™ also known as RTC, are an extension of Rentapen’s mission to save manufacturers costs. These standardized yet versatile components can save hundreds of dollars per weld fixture because it saves companies engineering and CNC time.

Rentapen’s mission is to provide jobs, training and opportunities for people who work together to help manufacturers reduce costs of tooling to make their products.