Proto Labs, Inc.
From quoting to production and quality control, Proto Labs have rebuilt their entire manufacturing system around speed to help transform ideas to products and optimize manufacturing throughout the product life cycle.
Our company was founded in 1999 by Larry Lukis, a successful entrepreneur and computer geek who wanted to radically reduce the time it took to get injection-molded plastic prototype parts. His solution was to automate the traditional manufacturing process by developing complex software that communicated with a network of mills and presses. As a result, plastic and metal parts could be produced in a fraction of the time it had ever taken before.
Over the next decade, we would continue to expand our injection molding envelope, introduce quick-turn CNC machining, and open global facilities in Europe and Japan.
In 2014, we launched industrial-grade 3D printing services to allow product developers, designers, and engineers an easier path to move from early prototyping to low-volume production.
And in 2017, we acquired Rapid Manufacturing to further expand our machining capabilities and introduce sheet metal fabrication into our suite of services. Yeah, we've been busy.
Today, Protolabs is the world’s fastest manufacturer of custom prototypes and on-demand production parts with manufacturing facilities in five countries.
We are the world’s fastest digital manufacturing source for rapid prototypes and on-demand production parts. Our automated quoting and manufacturing systems allow us to produce commercial-grade plastic, metal, and liquid silicone rubber parts within days. The result? A manufacturing partner that helps you accelerate speed to market and strategically manage demand volatility across the entire product life cycle.
Averaging 4.4 stars
Protolabs - Avoid
Never use Protolabs. Their billing is esoteric and impossible to manage. The finished goods were not to spec and clearly not within their capabilities. We were in a bind and needed to take advantage of their turn times and we paid for it. All but one of the components were completely unusable.
Think long and hard before working with Protolabs
First, I'll start by saying that we have used them in the past and the experience was ok because everything for our early orders went ok but they have "NO CUSTOMER LOYALTY". We purchased a part from then in Delrin and paid for the tooling. After a few years they destroy the tool that you pay for so when you order again, you need to pay for another tool. We learned the hard way that they will not accept a Purchase Order from your company because they want no responsibility whatsoever. Although they send you a quote for an item that you requested, they send a link to your quote which doesn't have your drawing information loaded. What I mean by this, we were told that they had our 2D drawing and 3D model on file when they quoted the item, but they did not include our material. The quote they sent was really a link to a do it your self quote. Our purchasing department didn't realize that they had set the default material to some really cheap ABS material and when our parts came in they were all bad.Having dealt with them before, and having paid for the tool in the past which they destroyed because there was a few years in between orders, we made the crazy assumption that as a company they would stand behind their products and the crazy situation we were in, but instead we got a, well it's not our problem.Please do yourself a favor and go out to other vendors. We found that there were other reputable companies who were just as cheap and will never destroy the tool that you pay for. It is obvious to me that they pay a substantial price to stay high on the search optimization list and they can afford to since they have no issue ripping off a customer!So disappointed in or dealings with them.
Proto Labs is a member of our team
I have been using Proto Labs for several years for quick turnaround STL models. Their parts have always been back on time and at a very high level of quality for the price.Bob
As our company grew we needed a better faster way to develop our products and this is when we reached out to Proto Labs to help with the prototyping of our products. The experience so far has been good. We've been able to partner with them to quickly iterate through our ideation and create one off samples that we can quickly determine if it would be feasible for our company to purse. Prices for their services are in line with competitors. Their team overall is very knowledgeable and great to work with.
Fast, but not cheap
I have sent several quotes to Proto Labs/First Cut because they can turn around parts quickly. It is easy to get a quote, but a pain if you have threaded holes. They give you an initial quote, but then you have to go through each hole and say if it's tapped, and as you do that the price keeps going up. So all of a sudden the price is generally much higher than if I went with my local shops.The support/sales folks are nice enough and don't push hard.From the parts that I've seen come through from my co-workers, they are decent.
Great rapid prototyping service with excellent customer service
I have submitted many parts through Proto Labs and have had great experiences with all of them. Most of the time I will receive a quote in less than one business day, and then a few days after I will get a phone call making sure I did not have any questions regarding my part. Sometimes, what they can produce is limited by the CNC machine capabilities, but I believe they have just added a 3D printing service which should help to remedy some of those problems. Overall a great service for quick prototype parts.
Proto Labs does more than just take your CAD designs, machine your parts, and ship them back to you. This company is filled with talented, passionate engineers who strive to optimize your design, save you money, while providing a meaningful customer experience. Not only did I feel that I was getting all the support and services I needed, but knew that the price point was right on par with what I was expecting. Proto Labs also provides intuitive, and easily to understand, up-to-date educational materials related to design, material selection, rapid prototyping, and other engineering functions.
we use firstcut as one of our vendors for our prototyping service. they offer 3 distinct prototyping services each with specific descriptions. we used their firstcut service and when we spoke with their team members, this was the best option for our rapid prototyping needs. it also fit due to the functional testing needs we were looking for with our prototyping. we used their Ultem and peek metals for the production and they used production equipment for the creation. this was a specific detail of the service we liked because eventually it would save us time on bringing the product to production. we used firstcut 3 times for our prototyping services and are currently in talk to have them develop our 4th project. we have enjoyed the partnership we have had and are continuing to have. as mentioned previously, there was a delay in the communication spectrum of our partnership but it never delayed the production or result of our product. they are only located on the east coast and our facility is in the west coast so it did only give us a limited time frame for real-time communication to be established per day
Great Quality Product
Proto labs' expertise has literally shaved days off of the project schedule. They can handle the volume of work they get and still turn parts as quickly as they do The small plastic CNC machined parts are great. With their great Customer Service, it's a complete satisfaction.
Fast CNC Prototyping
I have had many rapid prototypes made with First Cut. The customer service is wonderful to experience and the prototypes arrive even quicker than quoted. I only had one issue with a customer fixture that a hole wasn't cut through and the customer service department very quickly fixed the problem. I appreciate a company that will go the extra mile like Proto Labs/ First Cut.