Using Ultimaker 3D Printer to speed up the R&D process, achieving savings of 95% in cost & time

Cost of prototyping the first iterations was too much, £400 apart, and was taking over a week per part to be created. After buying 3 iterations at £400, Brian decided it was time for another solution.



“It has made huge benefits to us, we are able to change designs far quicker and cheaper than we could without the benefits of a 3D printer. Making changes to a design are now no longer a massive headache, think-it, design-it, draw-it and then 3D-print-it.”

Brian Eaglestone, Director of Protopro Ltd

 Protopro Ltd – Introduction

Protopro Ltd, was started as a company to enable us to obtain a very small grant, towards funding some research into an innovative new ‘Carpet Vacuum Cleaner’ design. We tried using subcontractors for various parts we needed making for our prototypes but were very disappointed with the components we received.

We also found dealing with so many different companies a real pain as none of them could do more than one part of the prototype puzzle. There were companies that were capable of ‘Doing Everything’ but they were well out of our financial budget range.

In 2012/13 we took the plunge to purchase our first 3D printer and have not looked back since.

Year on year and with each new project, we are slowly expanding our range of in-house facilities.

We are now in a position to offer a comprehensive product and system design service to all local and nationwide businesses/clients and innovators. In December of 2016 we moved into our new business workshops and office in the ‘Maryport Business Centre’, in Maryport, Cumbria.



Previously, Cost of prototyping the first iterations was too much, £400 a part, and was taking over a week per part to be created. After buying 3 iterations at £400, Brain decided it was time for another solution since this was way too much time and money being wasted.



Brian bought two Ultimaker 2 3D printers so parts could be created, iterated and designed all in the same day with huge saving in cost and time. He then added his covers to the printers to keep the heat in and improve the quality. However, Brian also noticed there was oil residue building up because of his covers so he needed to make a scrubber to clean the air and remove residue build up.



Brian has saved him self 95%+ of the cost per iteration of his parts. His parts where once costing him £400 to be produced, but since using Ultimaker he has managed to reduced that £19 which included cost of electricity and materials, Time wise he was able to saved 86% of his time due to reliability and ease of 3D Printing which took his production time from 168 hours down to 24 hours which includes design, prototyping and printing. He could also create as many types of the same part to see which worked best and optimized it.