I am in the business of product development. We do our best to get functional prototypes in the hands of our clients fast. Prototyping for us is crucial and we use all kinds of methods to get the data we need quickly to move products towards manufacture. I work with excellent vendors in the rapid prototyping industry and they include C-ideas, ENMAT, R&D Technologies and Vaupel. For machining East Coast machining has always come through for us.
Several years ago we purchased a desktop combination lathe and milling machine shown above. This has worked out very well for creating small prototypes and accessory products for our interests in making high end products in small batches for our DesignWorks Studio brand. We are looking into adding computer controlled options to this present system. But, as newer technologies hits the streer I am hesitating in doing this.
The scene for rapid development is constantly changing and more than not I am tempted with new methods because they are becoming more accessible to my small business. Accessibility for us has to do with price, quality and time. Also, the maintenance and downtime involved in whatever we are using or looking at using. For example, when maker-bot hit the scene I was concerned with the quality of parts. We use the printed materials to make masters from to use in casting parts. The quality is not there. My friend Jonathan is using it at MRC research and they are not to thrilled with it. The price of the machine is great, not sure about the maintenance etc.
The fusion3 printer is getting great reviews and my good friend and associate Chris at AMTROL is using it and so far the quality is excellent and is fitting there requirements. The price is under $5K so this is doable for my small company.
As I am putting my thoughts together for writing this I was struck with this new system not even on the market but taking pre-orders called Boxzy. I am floored with its capabilities and I do not know yet how much is hype and how well it will work. It is definitely in the mix of contenders as I check out new capabilities for my company! Take a look at boxzy.com and tell me what you think!