Rapid Prototyping Enclosures in FDM

“If we had to injection mold the prototypes, it would be 20k for just one drill - and that would be just to do it once. If you make a modification (which we do every day) then you have to redo everything. 3D printing saves an enormous amount of time and money."

- Andy Matei, Robbox Founder & President

Robbox was able to use 3D printing to rapidly iterate on their smart power tools, saving time and money. Rather than produce expensive injection molded prototypes, they were able to cheaply print multiple iterations of the enclosures for their drills, drivers, and attachments - allowing them to produce functional tools at a fraction of the cost, reducing design time and risk.

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Robbox is an innovative smart tool manufacturer, currently developing a complete lineup of robotic hand tools that use smart technology to automatically adapt to various home and industrial tasks while providing real-time feedback to the operator.

Their Robotic Drill and Robotic Driver prototypes (printed in FDM) won the Pinnacle Innovation award at the Las Vegas National Hardware Show.

FDM Technology

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Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) was selected as the print technology for many of the end-use components. FDM is one of the most widely used 3D printing technologies, offering fast prints, competitive prices, and spacious build platforms - all of which make it excellent for large, end-use parts. We offer a wide range of production grade thermoplastics, making it possible to test real-world material properties.

Robotic Drill Enclosure

"As a small company, we can't afford to waste any time - we have to be fast. With FDM prototypes, we were able to accelerate our development by a factor of 10, making it possible to bring multiple products near completion within a year."

For the Robotic Drill, Robbox needed to manufacture a very thin enclosure to keep the weight down and the shape ergonomic.  CNC wasn’t an option - machining it out of metal would make the prototypes too heavy (and inhibit the electronics from functioning), while machining it out of plastic was impossible with such thin walls. Injection molding would work, but the high cost made it impractical for prototyping.

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3D printing made it possible to get very close to the final injection molded product at a much lower cost, without the long turnaround times of traditional manufacturing.

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ASA and ABS were selected for their robust properties and ease of finishing - the prototype drill is not only functional but aesthetically pleasing as well, perfect for not only design validation but also for demos and trade shows.

Cost in FDM

$200

Traditional Cost

$10,000

Lead Time

2 Days

Traditional Lead Time

2 - 6 Weeks

The price for a part was reduced by 50-100x - an absolutely enormous savings.

Robotic Driver Enclosure

We are developing hundreds of attachments, and every single attachment requires so many alterations and changes to get it right. 3D printing is necessary for rapid iteration.”

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The Robbox Robotic Driver was designed to be an intelligent platform with swappable attachments that can replace a whole range of tools - reducing the cost per tool, and the amount of storage space needed.

With this many attachments came an enormous amount of development - which is where 3D printing comes in. Printed in ASA and ABS, the attachments could be turned around overnight on a Stratasys F170, allowing designs to be tested and revised almost immediately. Once a design was settled on, the FDM parts were primed and painted to look like injection-molded parts - ready for trade shows and product demos.

The smart driver itself also went through multiple iterations - 3D printing made it possible to perfect the ergonomics of the enclosure and accommodate changes to the electronics throughout the development process.

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Cost in FDM

$150

Traditional Cost

$10,000

Lead Time

2 Days

Traditional Lead Time

2 - 6 Weeks

As with the Robotic Drill, validating the design for the Driver with a 3d printed part - rather than an injection molded one - produces an absolutely enormous cost savings.

Their Robotic Drill and Robotic Driver prototypes (printed in FDM) won the Pinnacle Innovation award at the Las Vegas National Hardware Show.

Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

  • Thermoplastics

    Real-world thermoplastics

  • Large Builds

    Large, complex parts in a single build

  • Rapid Turnaround

    Turnaround as fast as 1 day!

  • Strength

    Nylon & Ultem for ultra-strong parts

Mention discount code FDM-RBX to get 10% off your first order!