Cost-efficient, functional prototypes for small bore motorcycle parts
MNNTHBX uses Ultimaker to save time and money on prototypes,
increasing design flexibility and improving product testing phases.
“3D printing on Ultimaker mitigates risk, and opens the door to creating working concepts on extremely low investment. Long gone are the days of spending thousands of dollars running multiple prototypes through traditional CNC machining methods. When we take a design to the machine shop, we know before we start that it’s a fully functional design meeting our standards.”
Greg Hatcher, Owner of MNNTHBX
MNNTHBX – Introduction
MNNTHBX (Man in the Box) designs and manufactures innovative products for the small bore motorcycle industry. They often produce customized parts that are the first of their kind, unique to enthusiasts interested in tailoring their motorcycles to individual preference. Traditionally, they relied on CNC mills to produce their prototypes for design and testing without much room for modification.
With the introduction of 3D printing into their process, they not only saved money but found the freedom to test functional prototypes in-house and redesign quickly without spending thousands of dollars. Switching from aluminium to 3D printed PLA for prototyping resulted in immediate and valuable cost savings, convincing the MNNTHBX team that Ultimaker was the best option for their prototyping and design needs. Today, hand-drawn designs are turned into STL files for testing and redesign on Ultimaker, then sent out for CNC production once perfected
The most significant challenges for MNNTHBX were saving money on prototyping. Product materials like aluminium were costly and time-consuming to redesign when outsourcing to CNC mills. With a customer base relying heavily on custom, unique parts for their motorcycles, it was essential that the MNNTHBX team had an alternative solution that allowed for quick and efficient design testing of functional prototypes— without breaking their budget
MNNTHBX spent a year contemplating which 3D printer to purchase. They chose Ultimaker in April of 2016, impressed with the ease of use and reliability. The Ultimaker offering was the best fit for their goals of saving money and having design freedom at their fingertips. Dependability and accuracy were also key aspects that drove their decision to purchase an Ultimaker 2+ for their prototyping process; a conclusion that brought their production time down from 75 hours at a CNC mill to about 12 hours per part on Ultimaker
Owner Greg Hatcher states, “The simple truth is that our return on investment was nearly instant. Our printer basically paid for itself the first time we saw a product through prototyping. Being that we prototype roughly 15 products annually, the costs savings become apparent.” Not only were they able to reduce raw materials costs by 90%, but they save thousands by prototyping in-house before sending parts out for CNC production. The time they save is invaluable for product testing and made possible by the reliable, customizable nature of 3D printing
Cost and Time Saved using 3D Printing
New designs now bypass all traditional stages of ordering and delivery, saving money and time in the process. The reliability and consistency of the print quality means there’s very little waste. Greater flexibility enables the team to innovate more freely and this boosts company profits.
Ultimaker 3D Printer
External CNC supplier
|$200 per part, including man hours and material||$1,500 – $2,500 per part, including man hours and material|
|12 Hours per part||1 Week per part|
|1-5 iterations per part||5-10 iterations per part|
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