Shape setting is one of the most common tasks when developing nitinol parts. The basic premise is rather simple: hold the nitinol in the shape that you want it and heat it to approximately 1,000℉ (500℃). When it comes to holding the nitinol in the shape you want, we have two options: our general purpose jig plates and custom machined tooling. The general purpose jig plates are intended for making very simple proof of concept prototypes while avoiding tooling costs. These jig plates have M4 tapped holes on 1cm spacings. To add functionality, we have some jig plates which have each row of holes offset by 0.5cm from the previous row, giving a triangular pattern. While these plates are usually reserved for 2-dimensional parts, we have used threaded rod to build up 3D structures on the jig plates. For custom machined tooling, we design and cut custom fixtures to hold your nitinol in place during the shape setting process. While the tooling cost can be substantial, the result is a perfectly formed structure every time. For the heating process, you can find plenty of YouTube videos that show how “easy” it is to use a propane torch to set the memory shape. Not only do these videos dramatically oversimplify the shape setting process, they neglect to show the dramatic benefit that comes from properly controlling the heat treatment profile. For more information on heat treatments and the types available from us, check out the Heat Treatment page.