Where to begin… Every step we've taken on our development journey has required 10 steps that were not planned for or expected. It has been a challenge to align our business plan and financial forecasts with an evolving design.
We developed at least 20 prototypes along this concept direction. Proportions, fit, texture, openings, draft angles, size, laser engraving… New criteria would suddenly emerge from our test group that was important to integrate into the design.
Did Protolabs' automated design analysis or applications engineers help during the process?
Yes, most of the Protolabs team has been incredibly supportive and patient. It felt as though they became a part of the Aerie Team. As we investigated textures and and other finishing processes, we worked with the team to modify draft angles.
What processes did you use to manufacture your prototypes and final parts?
We used insert molding to manufacture the control knobs, since the design included threaded fasteners. We also used mold texturing and laser engraving to further enhance the feel of the controls and overall aesthetics.
What material will the control knob be molded with for production?
We'll be molding our final design in ABS plastic for its longevity and future color options. The material is easy to mold and the most economical for our application.
How many parts have you manufactured at Protolabs thus far?
We've done about a dozen 3D-printed prototypes, and have 50 injection molding samples from our mold. We actually just placed a production order of 6,000 parts!
What does the future at Aerie Designs look like?
Right now we are working to expand our product selection with a new control grip that will fit a different style of drone controller. We'll continue to work with Protolabs for additional tooling and on-demand manufacturing.