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Weinor has used Firstcut CNC machining services from Proto Labs to develop parts for its Zenara series of awnings. The awnings are designed so that none of the connections are visible to the customer; prototype components with specific mechanical properties were needed to test this technology.

Engineer Christian Treude said that obtaining parts with the desirable mechanical properties would usually mean the production of expensive tooling, with the cost of prototypes exceeding €100,000 (£85,000). This process tends to be very drawn out as well.

For the Zenara awning range, aluminium parts were required. Weinor decided to test the Proto Labs Firstcut CNC machining service, which promised aluminium parts in a very short frame.

Firstcut is now an integral part of Weinor’s product development process.

Key benefits of product application

  • Treude said he uploaded CAD models, developed with Creo Elements/Pro, to the Firstcut website and within one day he received a quote.
  • After placing an order, the part was received within three days for less than €1,000 — several times cheaper than another company, whose delivery time was more than a week.
  • Firstcut allows Weinor to carry out more frequent and realistic tests and reduce the time and money to get from 3D CAD to a finished product, saving at least six weeks for each part.
  • The accuracy of the parts from Firstcut is in no way compromised by the speed with which they are produced and shipped, according to Treude.

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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