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Thoughts on buying prototyping tools

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

I'm working in the design and engineering field, helping clients design/prototype their ideas and then guiding them through an efficient manufacturing strategy.

There are almost an endless list of tools that I could use to help accelerate this process:

3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, CNC equipment, thermal simulation software, CAD conversion tools, project management software, etc. I've found that I can sell services that don't have, and ​hire experts that use this equipment every day. They're far more efficient, and provide added value such as reporting, documentation, etc. As my business has grown over the last year, I've found that I ha​d some cash to invest.

I ​invested in ​equipment that will help me accelerate ​my design feedback cycle while reducing costs for my clients. I bought a few 3D printers. I enjoy running the printers, and they're direct feedback mechanisms for my design projects.

Butsome tools can be a distraction. In ​this industry​,​ speed is king.

First to market wins the crown. We don't need to re-learn how to operate a machine that's rarely used to save $100 on our materials budget. Your time is worth more than the materials savings. Only buy the tools that will bring you joy to use. And make sure you have the time to learn how to use them correctly. Outsource the rest.

I'm sure there are tools that you enjoy using and would make your workflow easier/faster, as well as tools that would slow you down. Choose wisely.


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