During the design and development stage of Valour Band, it quickly became clear to us that the secret to shortening the time between iterations lay in harnessing the power of 3D printing.
Leveraging 3D printing during the development of a new product is no new thing; 3D printing emerged in the ‘80s (yes, really!) and has emerged as a low-cost means of product development. The technology is now mature and has been accessible at consumer level for a number of years. And while consumer units still lag behind their professional counterparts in terms of resolution, results can still be incredibly impressive and more importantly, entirely viable for rapid R&D.
However, despite the maturity of the process and the lowering hardware costs, the non-trivial entry cost may still present a barrier to start-ups and business with challenging budgets. Fortunately, there is an answer that is both low cost, flexible and capable of delivering superb results: 3D Hubs.
Offering low-cost 3D printing via a simple website, 3D Hubs is a global network of 3D printing hubs. Each hub offers a range of 3D printing services, with offerings from relatively low-fidelity plastic prints right up to superbly detailed prints in Titanium. Also, hubs are searchable by location, so it’s possible to find a printer nearby, which is superb for speed and the ability to iterate in real time.
3D Hubs is a service that shortened, simplified and improved our development cycle disproportionately. Due to the high levels of detail and tight tolerances of Valour Band components, the ability to easily obtain prototypes in super-high definition resin (25 micron layers in our case) simply turbo-charged our development cycle.
Furthermore, due to the range of 3D printing available, once we approached our final iterations, we were able to switch from models in resin to models printed in stainless steel. And for creating production-ready units, 3D Hubs now offer a CNC machining, too.
If you’re in product development, it’s well worth a look. https://www.3dhubs.com/
Footnote: Valour Band is a commemorative bracelet for the Armed Forces. We’re not affiliated to 3D Hubs in any way; we just think the service is awesome. See more at https://valourband.com