Your masterclass in product design and development


Protolabs’ Insight video series

Our Insight video series will help you master digital manufacturing.

Every Friday we’ll post a new video – each one giving you a deeper Insight into how to design better parts. We’ll cover specific topics such as choosing the right 3D printing material, optimising your design for CNC machining, surface finishes for moulded parts, and much more besides.

So join us and don’t miss out.

Most Recent Insight Videos


Insight: CNC Machining Cutting Costs

In this video we look at CNC machining costs and how to cut them. We look at what could potentially be compromised in the design, such as sharp edges and perfectly square corners – what can be altered in the design to avoid costly electrical discharge machining and slow material removal rates. We also look at walls and features within the part, and how to keep your design as simple as possible in order to keep those machining costs down.


Insight: Secondary Services

This video looks at some of the additional services that suppliers should provide you with to help meet project requirements. This includes the types of quality inspection reports, post production operations, drilling and tapping holes and threads and part finishes.


Insight: DMLS & CNC Machining - Working Together

CNC machining and DMLS are both incredibly useful processes. By utilising both, it can allow for greater flexibility in part design and can even save time and money. This video will help you understand the shared strengths and inherent differences between both processes, and how to best use them to your advantage.


Insight:​Injection Moulding Cosmetics – Cosmetic Defects And How To Avoid Them​

As with any manufacturing process, injection moulding comes with its own set of design guidelines, and design engineers who understand these best practices will increase their chances of developing structurally sound and cosmetically appealing parts and products.


Insight: Measure Up For Success - Detailed Measurement And Inspection Reporting

Measurement and inspection services are offered by most suppliers on injection moulded parts. These services range from part approval quality documentation to detailed dimensional reports. The speed in which you receive these depends on part complexity and production volume.

This week's video discusses what to ask when talking to your supplier about their report offerings - and things you can do to support the process with a well-designed part.


Insight: DFMA - Design For Manufacture Analysis

Automated design for manufacturability or DFM analysis, software that can quickly provide feedback on the manufacturability of your parts and can also highlight potential issues or areas of the design detail that could benefit from simple changes.


Insight: Copper – For 3D Printing And CNC Machining

Copper is a vital material in engineering and it's role, particularly in industries such as automotive, is certainly growing. Until recently if you wanted a copper part the only option was to have it CNC machined, but now there is another option available. For more complex geometries, DMLS can be a more suitable method of creating parts.

This week's video looks at copper and aims to help you understand when it's best to turn to CNC machining or 3D printing.


Insight: CNC Threading - For Milled And Turned Parts


At the most basic level there are two types of machined threads - internal and external. But when considering threads for your part there are a number of factors to ponder, such as:

  • size of threads in UNC, UNF and metric
  • maximum depths
  • whether the thread can be added before or needs to be added after manufacturing
  • inserts and how they affect hole diameter and depth etc.

This week's video looks at the key details, to help you learn what's possible when it comes to CNC threading.


Insight: Fine Detail - 3D Printing Fine Resolution Features

Most 3D printed parts require normal or high resolution detail. But for very precise features - and we're talking detail at hundredths of millimetres - we move into the realm of micro resolution. Materials with this level of resolution come with both advantages and limitations, so this video will help you make the most of prototyping such intricate components.


Insight: Surface Finishes - What Is Best For Your Part?

When considering a surface finish for your part, there are several things to factor in. These include:

  • the material you are using
  • the end-use of your part
  • whether or not your part is at the production or prototype stage.

This video looks at these factors in detail to help you determine the best choice in surface finish.


Insight: Draft - Improving Part Mouldability

Draft is a vital part of injection moulding design. If ignored you run the risk of poor cosmetic finish, warping and the chance that your part may not eject smoothly from the mould. This video talks about draft and how you can use it in your part design for a more mouldable part.


Insight: Anodising - Protecting And Finishing Your Aluminium Part

Anodising produces aluminuim oxide on the surface of the metal. It is the 2nd hardest substance known to man - only diamond is harder - which is why anodising can protect your part against abrasion and corrosion. This video talks about anodising and why you may want to use the service for your metal parts.


Insight: Injection Moulding Costs

Everyone wants to save money on manufactured parts. This video will list ways in which injection moulding costs can be reduced, whether it be cutting unnecessary features or incorporating undercuts.


Insight: Designing Parts For 3D Printing Using MJF

Multi Jet Fusion is a relatively new technology that will open up new opportunities for you.
Making it possible to produce functional nylon prototypes and end-use parts in as fast as 1 day. This video looks at the Multi Jet Fusion process and what it can offer you.


Insight: CNC Part Design - Optimising With Machining In Mind

CNC Machining is a great way to make parts and prototypes quickly and cost-effectively. As with any service there are considerations to be aware of when designing a part. This video will support you in designing your best part with CNC in mind.


Insight: Bridging The Gap Between Prototyping And Production

Speed to market is key in most businesses. When prototyping a new product, you want to ensure you make it to market before your competitor. This video looks at the concept of bridge tooling and how it can support you in your transition from prototyping to production.

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