Protobuild
We use a state-of-the-art 3D printing process
allowing models to be rapidly produced
in a strong durable plastic material

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Protobuild Director Richard Mayo

A Brief intro to Virtual Prototyping (from wikipedia.com)
3D printing is a phrase used to describe the process of creating three dimensional objects from digital files using a materials printer, in a manner similar to printing images on paper. The term is most closely associated with additive manufacturing technology, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. Recently the term is increasingly being used to describe all types of additive manufacturing processes, or even other types of rapid prototyping technology."
Virtual Prototyping takes new design concepts from ideas and plans into reality. Protobuild can assist in developing working prototypes to the market - fast, easily and efficiently while keeping your valuable design safe and secure.
Protobuild's 3D printing . . . Protobuild 3D Printing uses a state- of-the-art process to create a 3D object layer upon layer until completely finished. We simply send a 3D computer file to the 3D printer and within hours we have our object in real life.
Our prototype models can be produced in strong ABS plastic in a variety of colours. We can, through our close working relationship with other organisations, offer expanded 3D printing services giving access to a wider range of materials and finishes.

Protobuild's 3D scanning . . . Protobuild 3D Scanning uses an optical laser beam to analyse a real world object and collect information on its shape so as to generate a 3D dimensional computer file.  This file can then be used in a large number of computer graphic programs for illustrations. We can also send the files to the 3D printer and create a real-life object again in different scales and materials.
Protobuild's 3D design . . . Protobuild 3D Design is a support service for creating 3D computer concept files. As with the 3D scanning files these 3D CAD files can be used in a variety of other programs and operations.

References from Protobuild's clients . . .

Jeremy Kerr – Contimo NZ Ltd.
We needed a working model to progress with the product's design, and the Protobuild 3D model was ideal.  This model and its numerous variations were instrumental in realising the overall concept.
We found Richard was excellent to work with, always on time and the quality was superb. For new product concepts this 3D prototyping is amazing. It saves time, and you can make changes easily before commercial production is considered.

John Blundell – Kiwi Featherprops NZ Ltd. 
We have used the scanning and 3D printing services offered by Protobuild to very promptly get existing units and new Rhino-drawn prototypes  into our hands so we could both obtain the look and feel of the workpiece, and also use it to ensure tolerances, machining capability and tooling requirements for our machine shop.We have been 100% satisfied with the process and outcomes of the various models printed / scanned for us - especially with the brief turnarounds and cost effectiveness vs hand-making prototypes.
This has provided confidence that we can transfer a final design to a pattern shop with 100% accuracy. We would not envisage using any other process today for any future development components. The overall project lead-times have come down by a factor of 4 - 5  - you really can't afford not to use these modern processes integrated into the whole design iterations process. They simply produce superior and far more cost effective outcomes in much shorter time frames.

Tom Gorvorko – Koves Plastics Ltd.
We wanted someone we could deal with that was able to come and see us and discuss our requirements and have a full understanding of injection moulded parts. Our first project was submitted to the customer and we secured the job by responding quickly to customers requirements with the help of Protobuild. We found Protobuild quick at responding to requests and service overall is very good. A pleasure to work with. If you have some prototype requirements and need results in a timely and competitive manner then Protobuild will deliver.

Stuart Mackie – Chow Hill Architects Ltd.
We wanted to build model of a site masterplan quickly and with the opportunity of having multiple examples.  We chose Protobuild because they are in Auckland, and offered good value-for-money and could help us out within the available time. The sample sent out with the Protobuild brochure was a helpful guide as to the possibilities. The technology is relatively new for us and we were very happy with the quality of the final outcome. This was also informed by the useful advice and willingness to test the process in advance. Our clients were very impressed with the outcomes and the larger scale model proved a great foundation for additional detail and colour to be added. Richard was very helpful - particularly in terms of getting the models to us at short notice and accommodating an extension of the model.  Although we did consider extending the model ourselves, it proved much better to have Richard make an extra piece, which he was able to do. The new piece fitted the first component like a glove! It proved really useful to go through some dry runs in terms of testing the level of detail in computer models and the file formats that would easily transfer from us to Protobuild. This was done early and ensured that when we needed the final model made, there were no surprises with software issues or the level of detail in the model.

Greaden Chittock - Escalator Treads and Risers.
I chose Richard Mayo because of his receptivity to my dilemma as well as his ability to produce multiple samples in a timely and affordable manner. I have found that a good balance between a willingness to do the job and having the skills and resources to do the job is a rare commodity. Trust is also vital to any entrepreneur. There's nothing worse than having to worry about whether your IP is safe or not.  It became obvious that Richard was one such man that could do the job and be trusted! Richard has become my "innovation partner". My dilemma was that I needed a number of prototypes made for an invention which was not yet fully perfected. Not being an engineer, I needed someone who could help me work my way through the details and practicalities of my innovation. Frustrating as this may be for many designers, I found Richard to be refreshingly patient and insightful. Richard "held my hand" through the entire process. The end result was an innovation which not only did the job but was investment ready. Having avoided the shortcomings of the number 8 wire mentality, my innovation was professional looking enough to be presented to investors in a credible manner. It was a very good experience from my perspective. I could speak with Richard as a lay person who could actually grasp what I was trying say! I found Richard to be trustworthy and competent. I also greatly appreciated being able to get prototypes delivered at short notice when an emergency required. Good job Richard! I would say "go and see Richard" He can sit with you and work out what you really need and get it sorted! He also won't empty your bank account!

Damien van Brandenburg - Architecture van Branderburg.
We needed to achieve a high level of accuracy in creating prototype models of buildings that we design. These would go through a process of building in-house hand made models, followed by computer models and then 3d printed to check our design intent. Protobuild's product and service were both excellent, with the 3d models in hand we have been able to convey the designs to clients and contractors with confidence that the models made are exact. We found the process was very good - we would send files to Protobuild and in return receive the prototypes back promptly I have recommended Protobuild to other people who are looking to prototype ideas, as each project is individual have encouraged them to speak to Richard directly to gain an understanding of what is required/ what can be achieved.



Protobuild's confidentiality policy . . .
Download Protobuild's Confidentiality Agreement - as a PDF file.
Download Protobuild's Confidentiality Agreement - as a DOC file.
(right-click & 'save file as')


Protobuild's materials & technical FAQ's . . .

Technical Frequently Asked Questions;

Q1 – How long will my model take?
Most models usually take between 2 to 3 days to produce, clean up and deliver.

Q2 – What material is the model made from?
Our models are produced in light and strong ABS plastic

Q3 – What colours can I have my model in?
We have Ivory, White, Black, Grey, Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and Orange.

Q4 – How much will my model cost?
Models range from as little as a couple of hundred dollars all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars. The size and shape of the model along with the quantities determines the final cost. Most models cost only a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars.

Q5 – What if I want another material?
Through our close relationship to other service providers we can assist in arranging the production of models in alternative materials if required or desired.

Q6 – How do I keep my ideas safe?
We suggest downloading, filling out and signing our confidentiality agreement so you can safely talk to us about your ideas relative to your project. You may also want to find out more about 'IP' or intellectual property.

Q7 – What is resolution and tolerance of the models?
The models are built in layers which are 0.17mm, 0.25mm and 0.33mm with an XY tolerance of plus and minus 0.2mm for small models with large models plus and minus 0.3mm to 0.4mm.

Q8 – How thin can my models be?
Horizontal thickness is in multiples of layer thickness resolution
(see above) with the vertical wall minimum thickness of 0.5mm.
So in practice the minimum thickness of any component is half a mm - although for strength it is recommended to double this to 1mm.
Surface detail is finer (see resolution and tolerance above).

Q9 – What is the biggest model I can make?
We have a maximum single model build envelope of 200mm x 200mm in the X (width) and Y (depth) directions and a height of 300mm in the Z direction (approx 8 x 8 x 12 inches).
Larger models are produced in sections and simply joined together afterwards. Your objects may need to be re-designed or sliced afterwards to facilitate this. We can help with this process.

Q10 – Can the models be glued and painted?
Our models can be easily drilled, sanded, buffed, polished, glued, hand or spray painted, electroplated and vacuum-metalised.

Q11- Are the models strong?
Our models are made from strong ABS plastic which can be tested for form, fit and function. With careful feature design and reasonable thicknesses the models are strong enough to hold up to rigorous and long term testing, and real-world everyday use.



Protobuild's gallery of ABS Plastic 3D prints . . .
abs samples
An array of 3D printed sample objects in coloured ABS plastic

white cylinders
Specially designed prototype Airflow Tube End Caps in white ABS plastic for the Exporting and Transportation of live Honey Bees

415 volt white
Larger models are produced in parts and fitted together afterwards - these components are printed in 'natural' ABS plastic

415 volts
After assembly they are sanded and painted

white case halvesConcept models of snap fit cases. This prototyping process enables the designer to test how it feels, and how all the components fit and function before committing to expensive tooling.
white case whole
The assembled model - components snapped together.


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ph: 09 817 9255 mobile: 021 269 6977
-email: info@protobuild.co.nz
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site last updated 28th July 2013