Rentapen Featured in December Issue of Welding Journal For “Green” Practices.

Rentapen Inc., a manufacturer of Weld Tooling Components, has been recognized by the American Welding Society (AWS) for being a “Green” company.

On December 3, 2012 the Welding Journal produced a five page article in its magazine entitled “For Weld Tooling Design Company Being Green Is Second Nature.”  The article can be found on pages 32-36 of the magazine.

 Rentapen designs and builds weld fixtures and is the home of RAPid Tooling Components™.  These tooling components are products that Rentapen developed to help engineers and manufacturers save time in the design and build of weld fixtures.  Rentapen manufactures these metal shims, locating plates, and clamp risers at its plant in Waukesha, WI.

Rentapen has been a “green” company for over twenty years.  In the early 1990’s Rentapen’s President, Susan Straley and Vice President George Straley, became part of a Household ECO Team program.  Rentapen’s Owners were reducing, reusing and recycling long before Wisconsin took action and made recycling a state law.

Rentapen not only recycles in their shop, they also recycle and reuse in their office too.  Rentapen does not buy paper towels; they use cloth rags in all areas of the office and shop. Also, in every room at Rentapen there are separate bins for recycling and for garbage.

“I am very proud of this recognition.  George and I have been advocates for protecting the environment and reducing waste for a long time,” said Susan Straley, President and Owner of Rentapen.

The shop team is also conservative and mindful of waste.  They first consider the boxes of discarded material before going to the inventory of new material to build new tooling components and metal shims.

 All the paper in the recycle bins located in Rentapen’s office is shredded and used as material for shipping.  Employees are encouraged to bring in their old newspapers for use as packing material. Recycling makes good business sense for Rentapen.  In the first 9 months of 2012 Rentapen received over $3,500 back for recycling their metal waste.

The article can be found on the American Welding Society (AWS) website, under the December Issue.  AWS was founded in 1919 as a multifaceted, nonprofit organization.  The main goal of the organization was to help the advancement in science, technology and applications in welding.  The website provides thousands of articles related to the field of welding and will benefit instructors, students, and individuals already in the field.


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.

Finding the Right Vendor for Your Weld Fixtures

Seven questions to consider when investigating a new vendor for your weld fixtures.

If you are a the Manufacturing Engineering Manager, a Project Manager or a small business owner, you may find yourself looking for someone to design and build a weld fixture for you.  It is often cheaper than hiring and training someone to do the design internally.

Now with digital media, it is easier than ever to work with companies that are thousands of miles away from you.  Through email, and Skype, and web conferencing it is easier than ever to keep tabs on a vendors progress and communicate concerns and requirements.

But, you probably aren’t going to ask your competitors who they use.  How do you know who is good?

You can ask vendors and other networking contacts, you can search the net.  But once you locate a company you need to investigate further.

What do you do?


1) What is their history?  How long have they been designing weld fixtures?  More importantly, do they have customers who keep coming back for more weld fixtures?  How long have they been designing fixtures for that/those companies?

2) Who in their company will be working on your fixture? What is their experience in designing weld fixtures?  The person over-seeing or checking the project should have a history of working on fixtures.  Experience means they have learned over time what works and what doesn’t work.

3) Does the company you are about to hire ask lots of questions of you?  They should be asking lots of questions that will help them do a better job for you, such as your standards and particular needs on this job.  They shouldn’t be afraid to call you up with a list of questions once they have dug into a project.

4) What CAD system do they use and is that important to your needs?  Do you want CAD files or just the finished fixture?

5) Do they produce good and complete drawings? If you want 3D CAD files of the fixture, ask to see a sample of their drawings to see how complete they are.  If you wanted to make another of the same fixture but not use that vendor again, could you do it from drawings like that?

6) Can you communicate easily with them? Is there a language or other communication barrier?  Some companies figure a long term relationship and lower prices will help them recover a language and culture barrier over time.  Just know it takes time and money up front to develop good communication.  And will the people you are teaching and working with still be with that company three years down the road?

7) Will they provide you updates as the design moves along?  How often do you want to be updated?  How often do you want digital images of their progress?  Many of our customers like to get images of the rough concept, then when the design is complete except for holes, fasteners, and shims.  In a large project they like to see when sections of the project are completed.

If you still feel nervous, meet with them in person, see their shop, touch the machines they have on the floor.  Ask yourself if you would be comfortable working with these people.  Does the project manager appear organized?  Who else is working with them?

If this is your first project to outsource, you may be nervous all the way through because it is new territory for you.  That’s often the case when you try something new.  It’s like learning to drive a car.  Once you do it a few times it becomes easier and very beneficial to you.

Once you have asked your questions and answered their questions and you get a good quote from them, remember that $5 dollars does not make a winner.  If their quote is slightly higher or their delivery time is slightly longer than the next guy, call them up and let them know and see if they can meet the competition.  More often than not, they will be willing to do what it takes to get your business.   But, with that said, if it is a reputable company that has done work for other reputable companies, it probably is worth the extra $5 to get your project done right and on time.

‘Til next time,

The Queen


Did you see that Rentapen was voted BizTimes Top 10 Small Business of 2012?  Thank you to our Customers, Team Members and Vendors for contributing to our success!





6 Benefits to using Sub Assemblies in Machine Design

Discover How Sub Assemblies Save a Ton of Time and Money in Machine Design.

Sub Assemblies in machine design are fun and easy and the really help save time and money in a lot of ways.  Once you learn how to use them efficiently you will see all kinds of places that they can be used.  Then, you can be the CAD wizard at your company!

A sub assembly is just a 3D CAD Assembly that is inserted into the Main 3D CAD Assembly in machine design.  If that sentence doesn’t make sense, keep reading and watch the video below to get a good idea of how Sub Assemblies are super tools for Machine Designers.

For example these Jergens Jig Feet along with RAPid Shims and manufactured risers are used several times in a fixture.  As sub-assemblies they save time, and unclutter the assembly drawing.





This configuration of RAPid Blocks and RAPid Shims is used in several places on a weld fixture.  Only the pin changes.




So this configuration, without the pin, is a good candidate for a sub assembly.
It will save engineering time to create it once in a Sub Assembly and then insert the Sub Assembly into the Main Assembly several times.


This goal post is part of a change over fixture.  A change over means that more than one product is welded within this fixture.  To “change over” the fixture to hold a different product, one sub assembly can be removed, and another sub assembly (or cover plate) can be put in its place.

In a fixture with lots of parts, it is easier for the machine assemblers to read the assembly drawing and assemble a machine when the drawing is less cluttered.


1)      The Machine Assemblers will love it!  The drawings are easier to read.  There are less Balloons on the Main Assembly Drawing.

2)      It is easier to job out parts of the fixture to be made by contractors or machine shops.

3)      If sub assemblies are contracted out to be made, more people can be working to create the machine at the same time, moving the machine into production faster.

4)      Faster CAD design because the same sub assembly can be inserted several times into the main assembly.

5)      Assembly model checking time is reduced because each sub assembly only has to be checked once.

6)      The MAIN BOM can contain all the parts for the whole machine, just like always.


It depends on your numbering system.  All parts in a sub assembly get normal part numbers.  Even the sub assembly gets a normal part number.  If a 3/8” jam nut is part 103, you can use part 103 inside a sub assembly and also elsewhere in the main assembly and it won’t be a problem.  The main Bill of Material will reflect the total quantity of parts both inside and outside the sub assembly.  And the Sub Assembly Bill of Material will contain only the quantity of part number 103 used in the Sub Assembly.

We find it helpful to use the words “sub assembly” in the name or description of the sub assemblies.  That way they are easy to identify in the BOMs.  Your company may use a special group of numbers for your sub assemblies.

Now discover how to get the Bill of Material (BOM) to show all the parts but balloon only the parts not in the sub assemblies!  Watch this short video.  (The demonstration is using Pro/E Wildfire 4.0. )

So the instructions for flattening  the Bill of Materials for the purpose of ballooning only those parts not included in the sub assembly is as follows.


  • Select Table from Top Menu
  • Select Repeat Region
  • Select Flat/Rec Item from the pop-up window
  • Select the Bill of Material (Table)
  • Select Default or Flat (to flatten the Bill of Material)
  • OR Select Recursive (to expand the BOM show the parts that are in the Sub Assemblies)
  • Select the sub assemblies in the BOM
  • Click OK or “Done”

Be sure to sign up to receive Education and Updates!  All people who sign up in April 2012 will receive RENTAPEN’s DOWEL HOLE GUIDE.

Give me a Recommendation on Linked in!

View Susan Straley's profile on LinkedIn

Leave a comment below… tell me, do you use sub assemblies?  Why or why not?

‘Til next time…

The Queen

Manufacturer Saves Money, By Making A Phone Call

Rentapen Inc., a small weld tooling business exemplifies quick response to customer’s request.

In February 2012, a customer that wishes to remain anonymous called Rentapen, a weld tooling components supplier, and wanted to know if Rentapen would add a new style of clamp risers to fit the kind of clamps they use. Rentapen’s team quickly mobilized to create a riser to fit his needs.

The customer located in New Berlin, WI did not have a RAPid Riser™ that worked with his type of clamp, so Rentapen created one for him.

It took only one week for Rentapen to deliver a riser that worked for that customer. This is what US Manufacturers need to strive for, quick product innovation and customer needs fulfillment. The clamp he used by the New Berlin manufacturer is a De-Sta-Co 8021. The manufacturer was so impressed by the RAPid Riser™ that he decided to order 11 more.

“Manufacturers and those who serve them need to move rapidly in response to customers needs in order to compete in the global market place,” said Susan Straley President and Queen of Lean Machine Design at Rentapen Inc.

Rentapen’s RAPid Risers™ are part of their RAPid Tooling Components™ Line. Rentapen’s design team realized they were designing the same clamp risers, blocks and plates over and over again. So Rentapen developed their standardized yet versatile line of weld fixture tooling components.

The mounting holes in the clamp risers are able to fit a wide variety of brands and sizes of clamps including: Carr Lane, REID, De-Sta-Co, TE-CO, All American, and Jergens. A catalog of choices can be found on Rentapen’s website.

If a designer created a clamp riser from scratch, like Rentapen and all other machine tooling design companies used to do, they would have to go through a timely and expensive process that includes: designing the part; detailing; checking; ordering material; writing the CNC code; creating the part and finally inspecting the part.

The whole process takes about 77 minutes. Manufacturers will soon be able to download the 3D model from Rentapen’s website, save the model to their library, put the riser into their design, and order the block. This approximately takes 4 minutes. Rentapen’s RAPid Riser™ is saving the manufacturers as much as 73 minutes in design and build time.

Rapid Tooling Components™ reduce the design cost of the fixture by eliminating the need to design, detail and check similar parts over and over again. Three dimensional computer models are provided by Rentapen that customers can use to incorporate into their designs.

Clamp Risers come in .5 inch increments and in aluminum to reduce weight in the fixture.

Manufacturing engineers have known that purchased components save time and money. Manufactures have been buying their clamps that hold their product parts in position while they are being welded or assembled. Now they can buy their risers that sit under those clamps from Rentapen and reduce their costs.

How to Create a Better Weld Fixture, Save Time and Money, Without Leaving Your Chair

Rentapen Inc., located In Waukesha, WI has added a brand new free service to their website.

Rentapen is proudly introducing their 3D CAD Models. The 3D Models will be the new American standard for the Machine Designing Industry. Rentapen’s new 3D models will change how Machine Design Engineers and CAD Drafters design their weld fixtures for the better. The 3D Models will greatly reduce machine design time.

Machine Design Engineers and CAD Drafters from the U.S. will now be able to go on to Rentapen’s website and perform quick and easy steps to make a better weld fixture that will save them time and money without having to leave their chair.

The components are used in fixtures to help locate and hold the product that is being welded or assembled.

3D Models can be altered to meet your needs. For instance, RAPid Blocks™ can be ordered with only holes in one end. In the past, customers would buy the RAPid Block™ and then have to put it in their CNC or take it to another vendor to place a hole in it to hold a locating pin or a rest pad. Now Rentapen does it all. Saving costs, time, and hassles for manufacturers.

All of Rentapen’s RAPid Tooling Components™ are made in the U.S.A. This is in line with Rentapen’s vision as the U.S. Leader in machine design and tooling components.

“We have adopted the RAPid Tooling Components to design and build with because of the flexibility, durability and extreme repeatability that they allow us to have in the areas that require quick accurate dial-in,” said Don, tooling manager at one of Rentapen’s long term customers.

“Rentapen earns their customer’s enthusiasm because we enjoy the opportunity to provide efficiency by design, expertise, and very convenient service,” said Susan Straley, President of Rentapen Inc.

Rentapen is dedicated to reducing costs for manufacturers. And their new free 3D service will greatly help manufacturers continue on their lean journey.

“We are very proud to provide this time and cost reducing service. We invite machine designers to come play with it and let us know what you think!” said Straley.

Weld Fixture Design – Discover how to Adjust Location of Straight Action Clamp

Discover how to adjust the location of a straight line action clamp.

Often times, when designing a fixture we need to think ahead to where else adjustments might be made that will affect the area of the design we are working on.

In this video lesson we discuss using RAPid Plate ™ RB09 in combination with metal shims and over-sized holes to locate a straight line action clamp sub assembly.

So in this lesson we talked about sub assemblies. We have found them very useful.  In a future blog I will talk about how to create them, use them, and still have your whole BOM shown on the main assembly drawing.

Now, those of you who read this blog have a special treat.  Rentapen has just launched it’s beta for downloading 3D models of RAPid Tooling Components.   Please help us test it out and leave a comment below. Go to Rentapen’s home page and click the last item in the top menu, “Order 3D Models”.

Let me know what you think!

The Queen