3D printing prototypes to save money and minimize risk 1

3D printing prototypes to save money and minimize risk

NoiseAware, the startup behind a noise monitoring and management system for high-risk, short-term rental properties, designed and prototyped their product with their in-house Ultimaker 3 printer. Saving thousands on the initial prototyping process for all parts, the NoiseAware team is able to create new design iterations in a matter of hours, and efficiently test designs before sending them to a manufacturer for final production.

Reducing prototype production costs from $800 to less than $10 per product

If we didn’t use 3D printing on Ultimaker to assist our product development, we’d either take 10 times longer to test the product—which opens the door for a competitor—or we’d roll the dice by going to a manufacturer with less testing under our belt.

- Garrett Dobbs, Head of Product at NoiseAware

Challenge and solution

Challenge

NoiseAware needed to adhere to lean startup methodologies for validating, testing, and iterating on ideas quickly and cost-effectively. As the early prototyping phase would have cost them upwards of $20,000 if outsourced, it was essential that they found a way to produce functional prototypes for field testing with customers to improve design, acoustic performance, system architecture, device provisioning, radio frequency (RF) transmission, and more.

Solution

Rapid prototyping on Ultimaker 3 allows NoiseAware to fully test their product before sending it to supply chain partners for final production. 3D printing has reduced outsourcing costs from $800 to less than $10 per prototyped product, narrowing production time from days to mere hours. Additionally, they’re able to demonstrate value to customers, potential investors, and vendors by supplying tangible products for demonstrations.

Cost comparison

Saving money with rapid prototyping on Ultimaker, the NoiseAware team experienced swift ROI and reduced risk.

Ultimaker 3D printerExternal vendor
Costs$10 per product$800 per product
Time2 to 55 hours5 to 15 days

As Head of Product Garrett Dobbs states, “The cost of completing our required prototyping with a vendor would have covered the cost of the Ultimaker four times over by now. If we skip prototyping, we risk the future of our company by manufacturing an untested product.”

Results

  • Functional prototypes for testing: The NoiseAware team creates functional prototypes using the Ultimaker 3, allowing them to test features like design, acoustic performance, and RF transmission for immediate feedback.

  • Reliability for steady production: Their in-house Ultimaker 3 runs for hours and sometimes days at a time, which means that they’re able to cycle through as many iterations as needed to ensure overall success of the final product.

  • Design flexibility for alterations: The possibility of unlimited product iterations means that the NoiseAware team can design and redesign their products to suit customer needs, constantly improving for the best possible results.

  • Enhanced startup productivity: With functional prototypes, NoiseAware experiences enhanced productivity in a startup environment, discovering possible production barriers and coming up with solutions through design iterations

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