Challenge and solution

Challenge

Challenge

MNNTHBX previously outsourced prototype production of small bore motorcycle parts to CNC mills, which was a costly and time-consuming solution to their product needs. This process cost the team anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 per part, and required a week of production time before they were able to see a finished prototype. MNNTHBX needed a faster, more cost-efficient option for the design process—one that would allow them to secure prototypes directly onto motorcycles for tolerance and fitment testing.

Solution

Solution

After purchasing an Ultimaker 2+ in April of 2016, Greg saw an immediate return on investment. There was a measurable 90% savings on raw material costs as they switched from aluminum to PLA filament for their 3D printed parts. Additionally, prototype production time decreased from one week at the CNC mill to 12 hours on average per part. Greg estimates that they now spend approximately $200 prototyping on their Ultimaker 2+ printer; and average of $1,800 savings for each new design.

Cost comparison

Ultimaker 3D printer

External CNC supplier

Costs $200 per part, including man hours and material Costs $1,500 - $2,500 per part, including man hours and material
Time 12 hours per part Time 1 week per part
Iterations 1-5 iterations per part Iterations 5-10 iterations per part

As owner Greg Hatcher states, “The simple truth is that our return on investment was nearly instant. Our printer basically paid for itself the first time we saw a product through prototyping. Being that we prototype roughly 15 products annually, the costs savings become apparent.”

Results

Increased money and time savings

Increased money and time savings

Their Ultimaker runs for an average of 15 hours per week—which replaces 75 hours of machine time from traditional methods—and saves 90% on raw materials by swapping aluminum for PLA.

Learn more about Ultimaker PLA
Freedom to design and redesign quickly

Freedom to design and redesign quickly

Without having to rely on an outsourced CNC mill, the MNNTHBX team creates new prototypes quickly with just 1-5 iterations per part. This eliminates excess wait time for new designs through testing phases.

3D printing in product design
Functional prototypes for testing

Functional prototypes for testing

They now have the capability to mount PLA prints directly onto motorcycles for thorough testing of extremely tight tolerances and custom designs. This eliminates risk of failure after manufacturing.

3D printing for functional prototyping
Flexibility to customize each iteration

Flexibility to customize each iteration

The MNNTHBX team is able to test custom designs on Ultimaker 2+ that are otherwise too financially risky to outsource, and chase the winning prototypes once they are proven to be the best option for production.

Learn more about the Ultimaker 2+

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