• MMS Youtube
  • MMS Facebook
  • MMS Linkedin
  • MMS Twitter
8/27/2008 | 2 MINUTE READ

If You Prototype It, They Will Come

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

For an upcoming article, I recently visited Protofab in Petaluma, California. I wanted to learn how this small job shop got into micro-machining medical implants. It turns out the shop didn’t win this work because it had the right equipment or because it was knowledgeable about machining tiny parts. The equipment a

Share

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

For an upcoming article, I recently visited Protofab in Petaluma, California. I wanted to learn how this small job shop got into micro-machining medical implants. It turns out the shop didn’t win this work because it had the right equipment or because it was knowledgeable about machining tiny parts. The equipment and the knowledge both came later. Instead, this shop got the work because it was willing to make prototypes—and it was willing to make these short-run parts quickly and economically while the customer went through iteration after iteration to refine its design. Once the development work was done and Protofab got the production work, the shop just needed a new CNC Swiss-type machine to be delivered in order to run all of these parts.

I have heard other shops relate similar stories—that is, the way that prototype and development work made them the logical choice to get the production work later.

Taking on prototyping can be risky. The challenges of these short-run parts are hard to anticipate. However, because of the way it puts you ahead of other shops that are vying for the production work, taking this risk might be one of the better investments your shop can make.

Hand holding a crystal ball

We’d rather send you $15 than rely on our crystal ball…

It’s Capital Spending Survey season and the manufacturing industry is counting on you to participate! Odds are that you received our 5-minute Metalworking survey from Modern Machine Shop in your mail or email. Fill it out and we’ll email you $15 to exchange for your choice of gift card or charitable donation. Are you in the U.S. and not sure you received the survey? Contact us to access it.

Help us inform the industry and everybody benefits.

Resources