Once a 3D CAD model is uploaded to ProtoQuote, you can specify material, quantity, finish, overall expectation of the part in a notes section, and essentially, communicate as much information about that part as possible at the time of upload. The part will be analyzed based on our quick-turn manufacturing process to generate an automated quote; the quote you receive is your initial engagement with Proto Labs.
Your quote will show where material will be left behind from our milling process, so it’s very important that the three-dimensional feedback is examined for any colored areas that indicate where radii from cutters may be or features that our end mills can’t reach that will result in un-milled areas. From there, you can call a customer service engineer with questions about our process and how it relates to your part geometry and make any modifications that are needed. When you’re satisfied with your design and decide to order your part, the necessary toolpathing to mill your parts begins immediately.
At Proto Labs, automation software creates toolpaths that command CNC machines to rapidly mill plastic and metal blocks into final parts. We have multiple tool sets based on efficient cutters for a particular material or material type—plastics, soft metal and hard metal. We have about two dozen cutters per material type, with half being flat end mills and the other half ball end mills. Both sets are of consistent length and draft, which significantly aids in production speed and efficiencies.
CNC machines rapidly manufacture your parts through 3-axis milling from 6 orthogonal sides or 5-axis indexed milling. All machined plastic parts are left as-milled, which typically means they show visible tool marks. Some metal parts, on the other hand, allow more finishing choices. When the run is complete and your required surface finish is applied, parts are shipped shortly thereafter.
Request More Information
After submitting the form below, we will reach out to provide you with more information about how you can get free design for manufacturability analysis of your part. Our standard follow-up time is within one business day.