Telford, UK: product designers submitting part models using the Protomold web-based quoting system, ProtoQuote™, will receive detailed manufacturability analysis and an all-in production price in as little as an hour. Finished parts in production-intent material can then be ready to ship in just 1 business day.
“This is a major development for designers,” says Managing Director, John Tumelty. “There is no other way of getting high-quality, precision injection moulded plastic parts manufactured as quickly.
“By providing design engineers with a 1 business day turnaround, we’re giving them the ability to better manage their product development programs, reduce the number of pre-production difficulties and bring products to market faster than ever before.”
Companies and design engineers who take advantage of Protomold’s rapid manufacturing process can easily react to last-minute design changes, schedule revisions and reduce time-to-market, whilst keeping costs within budget.
Also part of Proto Labs, First Cut provides a service dedicated to producing plastic prototype parts CNC machined directly from solid resin as quickly and easily as they can be made using a traditional Rapid Prototype (RP) process. CNC machined parts are far superior to RP produced parts due to their greater strength, better surface finish and more accurate dimensions.
First Cut will allow customers to make functional prototypes of products earlier in the development cycle using production intent resins and therefore, without compromising a component’s physical attributes, as happens during common RP type processes.
So, what’s the difference between the many CNC machine shops that offer to cut plastic parts and First Cut’s service?
“Firstly”, explains John Tumelty, “Just like when using Protomold, First Cut customers can upload their CAD models to receive a FirstQuote™, a detailed cost and manufacturing analysis. Once the model is finalised, First Cut’s software – running on large-scale parallel processing computers – automatically produces the tool paths and then programs the CNC machines. This eliminates the upfront programming costs and delays typically associated with CNC machining, and makes it a fast and affordable process for quantities of 1-10. With conventional subcontract machining, one-offs cannot be obtained with short lead times and are prohibitively expensive.”
If you’re a product designer and you need all the advantages of RP – fast quotes, delivery in 1-3 days, and low cost – but with better accuracy, better surface finish and better material selection, First Cut is a very attractive proposition.
“From now on, there’s no need to settle for a prototype part that resembles the finished part in appearance only,” adds John Tumelty. “Whatever material the designer specifies – ABS, Nylon, etc. – a part produced by First Cut will embody many of the mechanical features and qualities anticipated in the production material.”
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