A rapid injection moulding specialist provides a service dedicated to producing plastics prototype parts CNC machined directly from solid resin quickly and easily
The First Cut Prototype service is dedicated to producing plastics prototype parts CNC machined directly from solid resin as quickly and easily as they can be made using a traditional Rapid Prototype (RP) process. CNC machined parts are far superior to RP produced parts, said Telford, UK-based rapid injection moulding specialist, The Protomold Company, due to their greater strength, better surface finish and more accurate dimensions.
Since it began its European operations just two years ago, Protomold said it has become the ‘darling’ of product designers wanting to quickly and inexpensively turn 3D CAD drawings into injection-moulded parts.
Orders placed via the company’s Web site typically range from 25 to tens of thousands of parts, and turnaround times can be as short as the next business day.
First Cut Prototype will allow customers to make functional prototypes of products earlier in the development cycle using production intent resins and therefore, without compromising a component’s physical attributes, as happens during common RP type processes.
When asked what’s the difference between the many cnc machine shops that offer to cut plastic parts and First Cut’s service, John Tumelty replied: ‘Firstly, just like when using Protomold, First Cut Prototype customers can upload their CAD models to receive a FirstQuote, a detailed cost and manufacturing analysis.
Once the model is finalised, First Cut Prototype’s software – running on large-scale parallel processing computers – automatically produces the tool paths and then programs the CNC machines’.
Tumelty continued: ‘This eliminates the upfront programming costs and delays typically associated with cnc machining, and makes it a fast and affordable process for quantities of 1-10.
With conventional subcontract machining, one-offs cannot be obtained with short lead times and are prohibitively expensive’.
If a company needs all the advantages of RP – fast quotes, delivery in 1-3 days, and low cost – but with better accuracy, better surface finish and better material selection, First Cut Prototype is a very attractive proposition, said Protomold.
‘From now on, there’s no need to settle for a prototype part that resembles the finished part in appearance only,’ added Tumelty.
‘Whatever material the designer specifies – ABS, Nylon, etc – a part produced by First Cut Prototype will embody many of the mechanical features and qualities anticipated in the production version.’