Cost-effective Prototyping with 3D printed parts, Reduces time to market
“It has become completely integral to our work-flow. We see it as one of the must-have technologies for modern product design.
“It has been about two years of research and development to get the watch to a complete working prototype. We used our ultimaker from day one (when it was just a vague idea) to create assemblies to test the functionality and aesthetic of the watch – it has been fantastic and we’ve kept all the prototypes”
Harri Lewis, CEng MEng MPhil – Co-founder of Mule Studio
CLOAK Watch – Introduction
The idea for CLOAK was born from the frustration of wanting a whole watch collection, something to match every season, event, or style, but only being able to afford one good quality watch. Could you have a single watch that satisfied this desire for constant quick and easy variation? A watch that you could keep customising as your tastes change, that could be as variable as you are day to day? CLOAK is the first watch to feature fully interchangeable materials for all of it’s elements. The watch features 4 parts: the body, the face, the bezel and the strap. To assemble the watch, put the face on the body and secure it by locking the bezel in place. The whole face acts as the hour hand, turning magnetically on a low friction pivot. The time can be read from the metal marker at its edge using the hour and 15 minutes markings around the outside of the bezel. Our straps all feature quick-release pins so they can also be changed quickly without any tools. The face is completely exposed to show the full beauty of the materials. If you knock the face, move it accidentally, or just play with it, the magnetic system will separate to protect the movement inside the watch. Simply move the face back to near its correct position and the magnets will snap it to the correct time again
Creating a watch as unique as CLOAK requires exploration – something the Ultimaker allowed Mule Studio to do quickly and reliably. As a small studio in North London the Ultimaker meant Mule Studio could build working prototypes from day one to test the functionality and aesthetics of their ideas. The designers initially investigated a design where the face was connected only by magnets. However, an early prototype with magnets glued into the form quickly highlighted the risk of the face becoming detached if the wearer’s hands were knocked – even if very strong magnets were used. They were able to quickly develop the design to include a detachable bezel that secures the face in place. This also provided another opportunity for customisation of the design – the bezels come in brass, stainless steel and black PVD coated steel.
Detailed design and production
The accuracy of the Ultimaker meant the assembly could be tested and other purchased components such as straps, magnets, watch movements and spring plungers could be incorporated into the prototypes. The Ultimaker proved so reliable that it has been incorporated into the production of the final watches. A bespoke movement holder was created to hold the movement securely within the model will be made in-house. This led to a saving on the investment required for tooling for the watch, a reduction in time to market and, as the Ultimaker sits by the design team in the Studio, a very close eye on quality.
We estimate we saved:
• £3000 tooling by using the Ultimaker for the production parts.
• £800 by using our Ultimaker for prototyping rather than commercial printer
• Huge lead time saving – probably saved about three months. We could design print test in a single day – multiple times. Rather than waiting for parts to arrive. Time is hard to quantify to cost directly but I’d say £1000 per month would be conservative. • Easily paid the paid back the cost of the printer on this one project.
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