Jerry Kapun and Doug Vokes are part of the team that is one of the secrets to ProtoCAM’s success – value-added post-process finishing that takes projects to the next level.
Customers don’t meet Kapun and Vokes often, but they can’t miss their attention to detail and flawless execution in every stereolithography and PolyJet 3D printing project that leaves ProtoCAM’s doors. Both tap decades of hands-on creative craftsman experience to deliver parts and prototypes with superior refinement and finish.
Crafting a Better Part: Jerry Kapun
Jerry Kapun started at ProtoCAM nearly seven years ago, and past and present coworkers alike describe him as “a total perfectionist” – high praise from a rapid prototyping company that values quality just as much as speed. Kapun’s primary role involves refining SLA and PolyJet products fresh off the machines, in addition to keeping the additive manufacturing machines themselves in working order.
Stereolithography and PolyJet produce cosmetically superior parts compared to other techniques, but they don’t come right off the machine in pristine condition. There are structural supports and a build tray that need to be removed, and excess resin that needs to be trimmed and smoothed – not to mention project schedules and timelines that need to be juggled.
Luckily, detail work isn’t new to Kapun, a Lehigh Valley native. He also happens to be a master carpenter who spent more than 25 years doing custom woodworking and furniture making prior to joining ProtoCAM.
“I’ve always been good working with my hands,” Kapun said. “The woodworking I did involved a lot of carving and detailed hand tooling. The medium is a little different, but I apply a lot of the same woodworking techniques to what I do here at ProtoCAM.”
His woodworking skills and commitment to quality have made Kapun an essential part of the ProtoCAM promise to deliver better parts and prototypes quickly and efficiently.
“We focus on the details and that’s what I really like,” he said, “making sure everything looks as good as it can.”
Precision and Polish: J. Douglas Vokes
Doug Vokes’ official title is production coordinator, but what he actually does is ensure the final visual aesthetic of each and every 3D printed part and prototype. He started at ProtoCAM nearly four years ago, and manages the innovative post-production finishing processes that set the company’s products above the rest.
“It’s up to us in the back room to take the raw parts or prototypes and turn them into something that the customer is really going to be able to use,” Vokes said. “Something that is going to look sharp.”
Vokes coordinates the finishing team that fine-tunes, processes and/or paints the stereolithography and PolyJet parts to the ideal level of finish for each customer. He not only ensures polish and precision, but juggles human resources and tight deadlines as well.
“Everyone here has unique talents that we rely on to make things come together,” Vokes said. “I get to direct the work to the best person for the job in the very best time – and we work ridiculous turn-around times here. No one in the industry does it like we do, so multi-tasking is critical.”
Vokes doesn’t just supervise, either. He works a number of finishing processes himself, drawing on his background in fine art and decades of printmaking to deliver visually pleasing parts and aesthetically exceptional prototypes. Although “retired” from printmaking full-time, Vokes still creates outside of ProtoCAM. He designs, produces and sells custom guitars, turning them into ultimate pieces of art – one of which is owned by Julian Lennon.
Design experimentation and a thirst for learning something new bleeds into Vokes’ work at ProtoCAM in synergistic ways. He recently took over a top-of-the-line spray booth, and has been mastering the capabilities of the equipment and testing the limits of his own abilities. Specialty finishes are becoming especially sought after in the additive manufacturing industry and are a defining feature of ProtoCAM’s unique services—for example, the proprietary crystal clear bottle finish the company developed and perfected.
“These are the kinds of things that set our work apart,” said Vokes. “We take the extra steps to master or innovate techniques that allow us to offer the detailed results customer are increasingly requesting.”