Your Easy Guide to Digital Manufacturing

Due to the popularity of our first book, “Injection Molding Part Design for Dummies,” we’ve published a new 72-page book on digital manufacturing. It’s a comprehensive resource to help you navigate the increasingly tech-driven world of advanced manufacturing.

“Digital Manufacturing for Dummies” offers an in-depth look at the various rapid prototyping and low-volume production processes and provides tips to improve part design. Find out how to:

  • leverage 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding processes to bring your product to market fast.
  • evaluate suppliers with the proper criteria to meet your quick-turn manufacturing needs.
  • increase the manufacturability of your parts.

Order it for free today.

LSR Molding Gets Medical-Grade Silicone, Increases Size Envelope

The medical industry continues to grow and change, and Proto Labs is working to stay ahead of the curve with our capabilities by making some significant enhancements to our Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) molding process. The most recent updates include the addition of medical-grade QP1-250 LSR to our material options and the ability to produce larger LSR parts. Continue reading

Hush Technology Aims to Provide People with Better Sleep

Hush Technology, Inc. is the latest recipient of Proto Labs’ Cool Idea! Award. The company has designed a first-of-its-kind smart earplug. (photo courtesy of Hush Technology, Inc.)


California-based startup, Hush Technology, Inc., is the latest recipient of the Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award. Its product, Hush, is the world’s first smart earplug that combines sound-eliminating foam and noise masking technology to keep unwanted noise out while allowing important alerts in.

Hush helps users sleep through snoring, loud neighbors and a host of other noises that disturb nightly sleep. It connects via Bluetooth with a smartphone app so users can choose which notifications, including emergency calls and alarms, can get through to them during the night. The device includes a tiny speaker in its design that can play soft soothing sounds like white noise, ocean waves, and rain drops for over 10 hours. Continue reading

3D Printing or Machining for Plastic Parts?

An SL machine displays a final ABS-like part with supports.

There are many questions to consider when determining if your plastic parts should be 3D printed or machined. Can you test form, fit and function by using plastic-like materials or do you require engineering-grade thermoplastics? Do you need a broader selection of plastic materials during protoyping? Is your part geometry simple or complex? What are the cost considerations for both methods?

Our latest April Design Tip takes a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of both 3D printing and CNC machining.  It aims to help you determine which method is better for your particular application. Continue reading

Making the Steering Wheel Work

TRW Automotive’s clock spring design.

Most days drivers don’t give much thought to what happens when you press a steering wheel button. But it has been at the forefront of Rick Bowes’ mind for quite a while. Bowes is a designer in the body control systems group at Michigan-based TRW Automotive. The global company focuses on active and passive safety systems and has worked with Proto Labs for the past five years.   Continue reading