If you’re going straight from design to production — and lots of companies are — you’re overlooking a key advantage of 3D printing: prototypes. In a competitive marketplace, time is of the essence, and so is the bottom line. Making a prototype will save you both.

XShot learned this when they came to Dinsmore, Inc. in 2014 with three new product ideas. They’d been making innovative camera and phone accessories since 2007 — like the “selfie stick” attachment that extends your device to capture background in the photo — but without the prototype step. With multiple new products in development, they were looking for a faster, more efficient way of launching their ideas.

When working with electronic devices, precision is a must, as is durability and easy-to-use design. With the new devices for cameras and phones that XShot had in mind, the ability to test their products with a prototype before going straight to manufacturing meant they could make absolutely sure every element of their design worked and was accurate, also getting 100% assurance that interchangeable parts would work when switched between multiple devices. Furthermore, they were able to see where they could simplify the products to reduce production costs. The prototype step was massively useful.

The SLA service that Dinsmore offers brought perfect detail and quality when rigid parts were needed, and under Dinsmore’s guidance, XShot has expanded into PolyJet services for parts that benefit from having stretch and softness. The prototypes were created quickly, so no time was lost — quite the opposite, in fact, as taking this step avoided manufacturing errors that would easily have been costly and time consuming. In a competitive marketplace, utilizing services like these give companies a significant edge.

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Having the rapid prototypes available on a very quick basis allowed us to catch a few design problems before we went into production, which of course saves money and, more importantly, time.

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