In the late 1990s, Larry Lukis says he was frustrated by the cost and time it took to produce short run, injection molded parts.
So Lukis founded the Protomold Company, and from it, Proto Labs, Inc. Lukis, a successful entrepreneur and computer geek, took his company public in 2012. Now Proto Labs is announcing some enhancements to the company’s Fineline Additive Manufacturing service, and the changes are aimed at enabling the prototyping and low-volume production company to ship 3D printed parts — as fast as one day.
The Fineline Additive Manufacturing service offers three cutting edge processes, all of which can produce small parts with precise geometries or large, highly detailed patterns for product developers. The company says from 1 to 50+ parts can be shipped in 1 to 7 days and that parts prices start as low as $95.
Lukis says designers and engineers who require parts created with stereolithography (SL) or selective laser sintering (SLS) can upload their 3D CAD models at protolabs.com to see if their files qualify for the new quick-turn service.
“It’s our goal that the new quick-turn, additive capabilities will make it even easier for them to do just that,” Lukis says.
Proto Labs incorporated additive manufacturing into their existing CNC machining and injection molding services in April 2014, and for the last few months, the company has built the 3D printing capabilities of the service.
“We’re extremely excited that customers can now get additive parts built with the same one- and two-day turnaround time as our other manufacturing services,” says Rob Connelly, the vice president of additive manufacturing at Proto Labs. “We work with engineers every day who are developing products in industries like medical, lighting and aerospace, and many need parts as fast as possible in order to bring products to market faster.”
Connelly says Proto Labs is an online, technology-driven manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. He says that the company’s combination of high-speed injection molding, CNC machining, and additive manufacturing capabilities means Proto Labs can produce parts within days. He calls it “an unprecedented time-to-market value for product developers and engineers.”
The company says it can produce a complex, selective laser sintered part of 3.5 x 1.6 x 3.7 inches in size from PA 650 (Nylon-12) material for as little as $183, or a complex direct metal laser sintered part of 0.25 x 0.67 x 1.6 inches in size from stainless steel 316L and printed at high resolution in 20 micron layers for $211.
Have you ever used Proto Labs to output your 3D designs? Let us know in the Proto Labs Turn SLS and SLA Parts Around forum thread on 3DPB.com.