Challenge and solution

Challenge

Challenge

A fast-moving hardware product design firm like 10xBeta serves clients working in a broad spectrum of product categories – from consumer infant products to medical devices and lifestyle technology. Given the tough, diverse challenges that arise with each project, selecting an in-house digital fabrication technology that can keep pace with day-to-day prototyping and client communication needs can be like trying to hit a moving target.

Solution

Solution

10xBeta has experimented with desktop 3D printers for almost a decade now, taking advantage of many technologies and vendors. When they added a cluster of Ultimaker desktop 3D printers to their offices in 2014, the concept of additive manufacturing was not new to them. However, the machines’ level of precision, range of materials, and ease of use set Ultimaker apart from its peers and made the process of adapting to Ultimaker solutions very smooth.

Cost comparison

Traditional model making

Machining/CNC

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers

Iterations per project 1 Iterations per project 3 Iterations per project 1 Iterations per project 15
Costs (including materials, initial outlay) $500 – $1,000 Costs (including materials, initial outlay) $80 – $10,000 Costs (including materials, initial outlay) $80 – $500 Costs (including materials, initial outlay) $10 – $100
Delivery time 3 – 4 weeks Delivery time 3 days to 4 weeks Delivery time 2 – 5 days Delivery time 3 – 24 hours

As CEO Marcel Botha points out, “The industrial additive manufacturing companies missed the point as far as providing what is critical for prototyping. With our Ultimakers, we can finally use 3D printers for experimentation on the fly. The original aim of iterating and rapid prototyping was, at the end of the day, ‘to prototype’ – not to produce costly artifacts at each stage."

Results

Product development schedule optimization

Product development schedule optimization

Having an in-house Ultimaker printer allows the team to communicate about design directions with clients in parallel with solving electronics and engineering challenges.

3D printing in product design
Easy onboarding for new staff

Easy onboarding for new staff

Thanks to easy operation and peer-to-peer support, 10xBeta can train new team members to use the Ultimakers as needed, offering these tools to the entire team, regardless of roles.

Swift engineering breakthroughs
Expanded product development usage

Expanded product development usage

From the earliest concept models to the printed parts included in the final product delivery, the 3D printers have proved to be useful in roles beyond the scope of a “rapid prototyping” tool.

3D printing concept models
Cost optimization and innovation

Cost optimization and innovation

Without relying on more expensive processes, the 10xBeta team can accomplish iterative development at the fraction of the cost, achieving unparalleled innovative design.

3D printing functional prototypes

More 3D printing knowledge

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Using Ultimaker printers, BOSEbuild, a division of Bose Corporation, was able to produce a crucial prototyped part for their BOSEbuild Headphones. Having printers in-house allowed for extensive testing in early design stages, reduced time spent between iterations, saved money, and allowed the team to collect valuable data about product usability.

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