Using 3D Printing to Prototype and Test Products
It only makes sense that as a 3D printing accessories company, we use 3D printing for prototyping our products. This article will give you an insider look into how we use our print farm to design and test products!
- Prototyping Products
- Testing Products
Our in-house print farm has gone a long way in helping us quickly iterate on prototypes and crank out quality products. We can rapidly take concepts from just an idea to a physical prototype without outsourcing any parts. Using both FDM and MSLA printing gives us a wide variety of mechanical properties and part accuracy. Pictured are three version of our Fula-Bed strain relief for the Sidewinder X1. You can see that as we iterated, the part got smaller, sleeker, and more efficient. The first few prototypes are based around testing the concept, with no manufacturing efficiencies or appearance in mind. From there, we start optimizing parts for aesthetics and build in manufacturing constraints. After we have a final design that we are satisfied with, it gets sent off to a manufacturer to create a pre-production unit made with the specific material and manufacturing methods chosen.
Once we have pre-production versions of our products, we start putting them through the wringer. I mean, what better way to test a product made for 3D printers than to use it to print thousands of hours’ worth of parts and components. For Fula-Bed testing, we attached our new Fula-Bed and heaters to all of our printers and had them running 24/7. Some machines weren’t printing but instead simulating very aggressive moves non-stop to test the longevity and reliability of our cable strain. Some were just heat cycling from 30° to 150°C with fully tightened springs to test flatness over time. Six months of testing and thousands of hours of use leaves us with a final product that we are super confident about, not to mention super excited to release.