3DPRINTUK Turns Start-up Company’s Vision into a Reality

3D printing service provider 3DPRINTUK recently collaborated with Sheffield-based start-up company Uropanet to manufacture a bespoke camera system for a portable video recording toolkit known as the SportReTiNA.

3DPRINTUK is an experienced 3D printing service provider using polymer powder bed fusion (PBF) processes for prototyping and manufacturing applications. Over its ten years in business, the company has worked with countless companies as they use 3D printing to innovate and create cutting-edge products and components.

3DPRINTUK is now established as a leader in polymer PBF, with extensive experience using selective laser sintering (SLS) and MultiJet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing technologies. The company has generated a wealth of experience and expertise that is focused on meeting and exceeding customer demand.

By running both SLS and MJF systems, 3DPRINTUK is in a position to deliver the very best polymer parts specific to clients’ individual application(s). Customers can either specify their chosen production systems or, utilising the expertise of 3DPRINTUK, make use of the company’s quoting system that will funnel priority requirements to ensure the best possible outcome in terms of the quality and functionality of the parts, together with value for money and delivery times.

Perhaps some of the most rewarding work 3DPRINTUK undertakes is on behalf of smaller enterprises and new starts. It is especially satisfying seeing how 3D printing and an alliance with 3DPRINTUK has in some instances been of vital importance in establishing new companies and new innovative products.

For a whole host of start-up companies, 3D printing is an enabling tool. As a technology, it is a fast and efficient way of proving a concept: a good idea is one thing; translating it into a functional — and successful — product is entirely another. New products also take time to get to market, and investment in tooling for high volumes of a product that has not secured considerable market share is often cost-prohibitive. Again, this is where 3D printing can support a cost-effective business plan.

A great example of such a start-up company that 3DPRINT has worked with recently is Uropanet. The company’s founder and owner is Fabio Caparrelli, an ex-academic with a background in electronic engineering, a passionate tennis player, and a qualified lawn tennis association (LTA) coach.

Caparrelli identified a gap in the market for portable and affordable sports video analysis equipment that could be used in place of expensive full installations and data capture equipment, and which reduced the reliance on often shaky and difficult to retrieve mobile phone videos. He developed the SportReTiNA (Sport REal TIme aNAlysis) — a portable video recording toolkit that combines innovative hardware and software for synchronised, multiple view video capture and analysis of on-court performance in real-time or for later review.

At its core was an innovative design of a bespoke camera system, the optimal design configuration of which was achieved by creating several different prototype iterations via 3D printing.

3DPRINTUK: SportReTiNA Singular Camera

The required geometries of the camera system, once finalised, also meant that the only practical way to produce it was also via 3D printing. Caparrelli commented on how 3D printing enabled him to move forward with his idea and commercialise the SportReTiNA kit:

Without access to 3D printing, this idea would probably have stayed just thatan idea. The bespoke nature of some of the parts that were required to make the SportReTiNA kit fully functional and easy to use meant that any other manufacturing option would have been cost-prohibitive. I explored several different manufacturing options for every component of the kit, and 3D printing was the only way I could move forward with the customised elements.

It is because of this that I believe that 3D printing really does enable innovation to flow from start-up companies such as mine. Having access to industrial 3D printing processes, through service providers such as 3DPRINTUK, has allowed me to pursue this venture and reach commercialisation.”

The customised attachments are not the only parts where 3D printing ended up being the most cost-effective manufacturing method. Other value-added components of the kit that were also produced via 3D printing by 3DPRINTUK include a small computer enclosure and a wearable device that holds a small PCB to control the entire system wirelessly. The size and nature of these parts hit the sweet spot for being ideal applications for low volume production with the process.

3DPRINTUK: SportReTiNA Camera

Caparrelli utilised the MJF process to produce the parts in nylon and dye them black to get the look and feel of the parts that he required. Once attached to the camera housing, Caparrelli was delighted that “it is virtually impossible to tell the difference between the injection moulded housing and the 3D printed attachment that allows for the adaptability and functionality of SporReTiNA.”

As would be expected, small volume production is the norm for a micro start-up. Still, the ability to use a batch production service as orders come in is ideal, and 3DPRINTUK has been able to facilitate this, producing high-quality parts in the volumes Caparrelli requires quickly and reliably.

Visit www.3dprint-uk.co.uk or use the contact details below to discover how 3DPRINTUK can benefit your business.

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+44 (0) 208 692 5208

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