First Prototype Lab

About the HTR First Prototype Lab

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a three-dimensional prototype must be worth a million, especially when it comes to presenting an early iteration of a product or device to potential customers, partners, manufacturers and/or investors.

Now, clients of High Tech Rochester have a convenient way to produce early-stage prototypes: the new HTR First Prototype Lab, which features 3-D printers, a 3-D scanner, a laser cutter, computer workstations, and a large assortment of hand tools.

Funded by a grant from the Max and Marion Farash Charitable Foundation, the 1P Lab enables HTR client entrepreneurs to take a major first step toward the commercialization of their products with the creation of an early prototype “that will greatly improve their ability to assess a product’s usability and appeal to potential customers,” says Lab director Mike Riedlinger, HTR’s program manager of technology commercialization.

Potential customers, investors and partners can hold a prototype in their hands and get a literal sense of how it will feel and work, which is far better than a written or spoken description, and much more realistic than a drawing.

Mike Riedlinger

Program Manager, Technology Commercialization, HTR

Users of the 1P Lab will benefit from support from HTR’s designer-in-residence, Ben Zombek, an accomplished industrial designer and president of BZ Design.

The Lab’s 3-D printers utilize various PLA and ABS polymer resins in the form of filaments on a reel or spool. The process is additive as the printer head, following precise specifications from the CAD program, flies back and forth applying 100 micron layers of the resin, one layer at a time, as the prototype takes shape. Given the layering process, it may take several hours or longer to create a prototype. The output can be solid or a shell and the resins are available in a wide variety of colors. The printers can produce parts or assemblies of parts as large as 10” x 8” x 6”. The various hand tools the Lab stocks are useful for putting parts together, cutting away excess material and other operations.

Users can develop their designs on the Lab’s CAD programs or they can bring in their own finished program.

Expert Contacts

Ben Zombek
Principal, BZ Design

Additional Information

The First Prototype Lab requires users to be trained for 3-D printing and use of the Laser Cutter. Training generally takes place on Monday mornings in groups of five.

Sign up here for training