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British entrepreneur Ellis Ware first came across Proto Labs when looking for local engineering companies, having been contacted to be a contestant on the BBC show, Robot Wars. He needed high specification parts, with very little lead time, as he began to create Pulsar, a 110kg fighting robot.

With his designs at a progressed stage, Ellis needed support to make his plans a reality and the Proto Labs team stepped in to offer their support. To create Pulsar, Proto Labs CNC machined a series of components, including the wheel bearing holders and weapon motor mount bulkhead, both integral elements of the robot’s form and function. Three-axis machining of two grades of aerospace aluminium were used to give Ellis the properties he needed – Ali 6082-T6 and Ali 7075-T6.

Less than three days after Ellis’s original order, he collected his parts, bolted them into the machine and headed to Glasgow for filming. With several elements left to complete on the robot upon arrival, it was a race against time to be ready. After considerable effort, Pulsar was finally complete at 3.30am on the first day of filming and ready to meet its competitors.

Ellis said: “Timing was crucial for me, I only had a few days to go from my designs to needing the high-specification parts in my hand and heading up the motorway for filming. It was a very emotional process, with so many cliff-hangers, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was amazing.

“Proto Labs really supported me throughout and I was so pleased to get to the arena with Pulsar to compete with my dream. I’m hoping to ride the wave after Robot Wars, and work with Proto Labs in my own business and maybe even in series two.”

Proto Labs

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Protomold delivers injection-moulded parts from moulds manufactured utilising state-of-the-art high-speed CNC machining technologies. Parts can be moulded using almost any engineering-grade resin and are ideal for prototyping, bridge tooling and low-volume production.

First Cut satisfies the need for functional prototypes much earlier in the development cycle for quantities of 1–10+. Because First Cut delivers prototypes in engineering-grade resins and aluminium they will have real material properties and improved surface finishes. In other words, they will be functional.

When you submit your 3D CAD model, Proto Labs’ powerful super-compute cluster creates an interactive quote giving pricing options and where appropriate, suggesting changes to improve manufacturability. You simply interact with your quote online, tailor options such as material and delivery to your requirements and with every change, the pricing information automatically updates. This built-in ‘what-if’ analysis enables last-minute project refinements to be accommodated at the click of a button.

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