A New Manufacturing Process at Proto Labs: Insert Molding

We’re excited to share the latest addition to our rapid injection molding service—insert molding. You can now incorporate molded-in threaded inserts, bushings, and metal bosses into your injection molding designs.

Metal inserts reinforce mechanical properties of molded, plastic parts.

The plastic manufacturing process can add functionality, improve strength, and reduce assembly costs of parts. Common applications include electronic components, housings, knobs, handles, and dials.

Check out these resources to learn more about designing for insert molding:

Just like our other injection molding processes, you can expect to receive parts in 15 days or less. If you have a design that could benefit from insert molding, upload a 3D CAD model and we’ll send you a free quote with DFM within hours.

VIDEO: Strengthen Injection-Molded Parts with Ramps and Radii

Our animated video series continues with some tricks to improve injection molding designs. Follow Doug through his favorite skate park to see how replacing sharp edges with ramps and radii improves resin flow, strengthens features, and reduces stress.

 

Learn more about improving injection molding designs in our white paperDesigning for Moldability: Volume 1.

Meet the Cool Idea! Award Judges: Taylor Stein

The Cool Idea! Award judges are technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs, instructors, and some are even past Cool Idea! Award recipients. All of our judges have a story worth sharing, so we sat down with each for a quick Q&A to help you get to know them a bit better.

Taylor Stein of Autodesk

Next up in our Q&A series is Taylor Stein. He’s a technology evangelist at Autodesk based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work at Autodesk focuses on inspiring future engineers to solve real-world problems with generative design software and additive manufacturing.

What are you looking forward to most about being a Cool Idea! Award judge in 2017?
I’m most excited for the range of submissions in 2017! Looking at past award winners, I’m equally as impressed by the smart, connected devices, as I am by the simplest of products that need some injection molding to come to life.

Tell us about your background—what’s something about your professional life that we wouldn’t necessarily know by looking at your LinkedIn profile?
I find myself coding more and more at work each and every day. From writing Python scripts that gather social media metrics to algorithmically defining pieces of geometry, coding is continuing to be an incredibly important skill. Continue reading

Automotive Tech Takes the Wheel at CES 2017

EYE ON INNOVATION

Take a stroll through CES 2017 and you might think you accidentally entered an auto show. As cars become venues for the latest tech, they’ve turned into centerpieces at the world’s largest consumer electronics showcase.

This year, auto manufacturers captivated attendees with demos of self-driving cars, high-performance electric vehicles, and even holographic dashboard displays. Here’s what caught our attention at the show.

The HoloActive Touch system uses reflections to produce a holographic interface.

BMW Makes Holographic Displays a Reality
Seeing new tech from BMW has become somewhat of a tradition at CES. This year was no different. Attendees were introduced to the HoloActive Touch system. It’s a free-floating, holographic display not unlike something you’d find in a “Star Wars” film. The user interface enables drivers to control the car’s functions without making physical contact with the vehicle.

A camera installed in the dashboard detects users’ movements and registers the position of their fingertips. When a fingertip makes contact with the virtual surface, a pulse is emitted and the function is activated. BMW has yet to announce a release date for the new dashboard concept, but its current gesture-controlled system will do for now. Continue reading

Video: Industrial 3D printing for Prototyping and Production

It takes more than designing a digital 3D model and pressing the print button to produce quality 3D-printed parts. Understanding material properties, support structures, post-build processing, and the differences between additive manufacturing processes all contribute to the quality of a 3D-printed part.

In this video, you’ll learn how we produce precise and repeatable results across our three industrial 3D printing processes and how you can best leverage additive manufacturing during product development.

 

 

Want to better understand the capabilities and benefits of industrial 3D printing? Check out our resources to learn more.