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Proto Labs’ rapid-manufacturing processes are said to enable medical-device designers and engineers to easily react to last-minute design changes, schedule revisions and reduce time to market.

Proto Labs offers two distinct services: Firstcut for one to 10 CNC precision-machined parts and Protomold for 10 or more injection-moulded parts.

Medical-device designers wanting injection-moulded parts can submit their 3D CAD model using the Protomold web-based quoting system, Protoquote, to receive a detailed manufacturability analysis and an all-in production price on the same day.

Finished parts can be made from hundreds of medical-grade resins, including polycarbonate, PVC, polypropylene and TPE.

In addition to the Proto Labs injection-moulding service, Firstcut is dedicated to producing CNC machined prototype parts as quickly and easily as they can be made using traditional rapid prototype (RP) processes.

CNC machined parts are claimed to be far superior to RP produced parts due to their greater strength, better surface finish and more accurate dimensions.

Firstcut allows designers and engineers to make fully functional prototypes of products earlier in the development cycle.

Choosing from over 30 different materials, including medical-grade resins, aluminium and brass, the parts produced do not compromise any of the component’s physical attributes.

Firstcut customers can upload a 3D CAD model to receive a Firstquote, which includes a detailed cost and manufacturing analysis.

Once the model is finalised, Firstcut’s software – running Protomold’s ultra-fast compute cluster – automatically produces the cutting 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 one to 10.

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