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Redwood City, California


Corona, CA

Community Reviews Summary

22 Community Reviews 4.64/5 Overall Rating

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About Proto Labs

Proto Labs is the world’s faster manufacturer of custom prototype and low- to mid-volume plastic, metal and liquid silicone rubber parts. Our proprietary software and automated manufacturing processes allow for quick-turn injection molding, CNC machining and additive manufacturing. Within our three services, we have multiple rapid prototyping and production processes to choose from. Each process serves a distinct purpose, from concept models to form, fit and function testing to short-run production that bridges the gap to large-scale manufacturing.

Product developers can upload their 3D CAD model online and receive an interactive quote with free design analysis and real-time pricing information within hours. The manufacturability analysis helps customers eliminate problems, like sink or internal undercuts, during prototyping so modifications can be made early and often. It’s an iterative process that lets designers and engineers avoid development speed bumps, so they can get their products to market as fast as possible.

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Firstcut CNC Machining


rapid prototyping

CEO/Owner, Pharmaceuticals

Speed 3 / Price 3 / Quality 4

we use firstcut as one of our vendors for our prototyping service. they offer 3 distinct prototyping services each with specific descriptions. we used their firstcut service and when we spoke with their team members, this was the best option for our rapid prototyping needs. it also fit due to the functional testing needs we were looking for with our prototyping. we used their Ultem and peek metals for the production and they used production equipment for the creation. this was a specific detail of the service we liked because eventually it would save us time on bringing the product to production. we used firstcut 3 times for our prototyping services and are currently in talk to have them develop our 4th project. we have enjoyed the partnership we have had and are continuing to have. as mentioned previously, there was a delay in the communication spectrum of our partnership but it never delayed the production or result of our product. they are only located on the east coast and our facility is in the west coast so it did only give us a limited time frame for real-time communication to be established per day

Strengths: 3 types of specific prototyping services that are meant to be more specific to client needs, fast turnaround time, one point contact through the development process

Needs to improve: pricing, communication turnaround was lacking (but product delivery time was always maintained)

Comprehensive Services

CEO/Owner, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 3 / Quality 4

Proto Labs does more than just take your CAD designs, machine your parts, and ship them back to you. This company is filled with talented, passionate engineers who strive to optimize your design, save you money, while providing a meaningful customer experience. Not only did I feel that I was getting all the support and services I needed, but knew that the price point was right on par with what I was expecting. Proto Labs also provides intuitive, and easily to understand, up-to-date educational materials related to design, material selection, rapid prototyping, and other engineering functions.

Strengths: Incredible customer service and relatively quick turn around time. Over the phone, and online engineering recommendations about your project help drive your work to be the best it can be, while making the most of your time. They understand your time is valuable and you need your parts ASAP.

Needs to improve: The only downside of using Proto Labs, like most other outsourced prototyping services, is that it is outsourced and not in-house. Having to deal with the lag time related to fulfillment and delivery of parts is an annoyance to design engineers actually trying to "rapid prototype".

Great rapid prototyping service with excellent customer service

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 3 / Quality 3

I have submitted many parts through Proto Labs and have had great experiences with all of them. Most of the time I will receive a quote in less than one business day, and then a few days after I will get a phone call making sure I did not have any questions regarding my part. Sometimes, what they can produce is limited by the CNC machine capabilities, but I believe they have just added a 3D printing service which should help to remedy some of those problems. Overall a great service for quick prototype parts.

Strengths: fast prototyping, helpful customer service

Needs to improve: what they can produce is sometimes limited by their equipment, but they are most of the time able to offer a work around option

The name says it all -- First Cut, Fast Turn Around

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 5 / Quality 2

The great thing is Protolabs/ First Cut is their extremely fast. They are interested in getting parts to their customers quick - the basis for their company philosophy.

Strengths: The great thing is Protolabs/ First Cut is their extremely fast with parts. For a small fee you can have your parts expedited in a week. They are interested in getting parts to their customers quick - the basis for their company philosophy.

Needs to improve: They cannot hold tight tolerances on the parts. They do have a limit on the overall size for their parts - at the time it was less then 8" in length. That may have changed as I have not used them within the last year or so. Again they cannot get second operations or sourcing done.

Fast, but not cheap

R & D / Engineering, Research And Development

Speed 5 / Price 2 / Quality 3

I have sent several quotes to Proto Labs/First Cut because they can turn around parts quickly. It is easy to get a quote, but a pain if you have threaded holes. They give you an initial quote, but then you have to go through each hole and say if it's tapped, and as you do that the price keeps going up. So all of a sudden the price is generally much higher than if I went with my local shops.

The support/sales folks are nice enough and don't push hard.

From the parts that I've seen come through from my co-workers, they are decent.

Strengths: Fast turn times.

Needs to improve: price and quotes if you need threaded holes.

Great CNC for non-precision parts

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 5 / Quality 4

Great experience. Have ordered from them more than once and will continue if I need one-off or low quantity parts. Great for manufacturing fixtures.

Strengths: The whole process is quick and seamless. The Quoting Process is quick and accurate. Costs are competitive and you get charged what the quoting system says. The orders can be made online and parts ship when made.

Needs to improve: Biggest weakness is that they offer no inspection services that I am aware of. The tolerances are a bit generous as well. So, it's not good for precision parts. Other weaknesses are that they don't have a Mac version of the part visualization plug-in and are ISO 13485 certified.

Great Products

Customer Service, Consumer Products

Speed 4 / Price 3 / Quality 5

As our company grew we needed a better faster way to develop our products and this is when we reached out to Proto Labs to help with the prototyping of our products. The experience so far has been good. We've been able to partner with them to quickly iterate through our ideation and create one off samples that we can quickly determine if it would be feasible for our company to purse. Prices for their services are in line with competitors. Their team overall is very knowledgeable and great to work with.

Strengths: Prototyping

Needs to improve: None

Great for small plastic and aluminum parts, large parts and hard metals at higher cost

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 4 / Quality 5

Fast, high quality parts, quickly. They live up to their slogan. Some limitations when it comes to large parts, like panels for instruments, and I wish that they were able to do this at at low costs as well. Also some limitations on hard metals, but if you want small parts in plastic or aluminum, these guys are hard to beat.

Strengths: Fast turnaround, accurate parts, great quality

Needs to improve: Extremely expensive for larger parts (greater than ~8x8"), i.e. if you wanted panels

Good Lead times - Fast Turn

Manufacturing, Medical Device

Speed 4 / Price 4 / Quality 3

Fast Turn - Price is competitive - On Time Delievery is good - Quality is Fair

Strengths: Our R&D department use TapProtolabs/ First Cut as a source for their prototypes. They are one of our vendors we use for our prototyping projects. Their technical assistance support very good and responsive. Their pricing is competitive and they have reliable services. Their quality is very fair. Quotes are accurate and delivery is fast.

Needs to improve: They can have better quality.

Fast CNC Prototyping

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 3 / Quality 4

I have had many rapid prototypes made with First Cut. The customer service is wonderful to experience and the prototypes arrive even quicker than quoted. I only had one issue with a customer fixture that a hole wasn't cut through and the customer service department very quickly fixed the problem. I appreciate a company that will go the extra mile like Proto Labs/ First Cut.

Strengths: Time, Quotes, Customer Service

Needs to improve: Accuracy

Fast machined parts

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 5 / Quality 5

Firstcut has enabled the quick prototyping of one off parts and large volume components within days allowing for expediting of the development process.

Strengths: Very fast machining of plastic and metal parts.

Needs to improve: Firstcut does not always offer secondary operations such as threading. Not a big deal given the very rapid turnaround and the fact that one can very easily do this on their own.

I couldn't be more satisfied with Proto Labs.

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 5 / Quality 5

Simply put, the experience with Firstcut was excellent. We are testing various devices and you are able to rapidly and affordably machine the necessary components. I am very pleased and will certainly use Firstcut in the future for similar needs.

Strengths: you get real materials, real functionality, and real value

Needs to improve: There are limitations, but weather or not the rapid prototyping is most efficient.

Prototypes in less than a week

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 3 / Quality 4

Every R&D engineer should get to know these guys. From solidworks model to part in your hand within 5 business days. Parts are generally within +/- .005" which is not too shabby for such a quick turn around. Prices can get high, but if you want speed, here it is.

Strengths: Fast and easy to use website

Needs to improve: Extremely small or large parts

Excellent prototype turnaround

Manufacturing, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 5 / Quality 5

Many of our R&D engineers have started to use this company to spit out faster prototypes of tooling and other basic design. It frees up their time to work on other projects. They are just now testing some of the companies engineering boundaries. So far they have been up for the test.

Strengths: Super fast, good customer service

Needs to improve: none

High quality and fast turn around

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 3 / Quality 5

I don't know how these guys can handle the volume of work they get and still turn parts as quickly as they do. There expertise has literally shaved days off of the project schedule. I cant speak to large parts or metal parts but for small plastic CNC machined parts they are great.

Strengths: Fast turnaround

Needs to improve: N/A

Valuable Rapid Prototyping Resource

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 3 / Price 3 / Quality 4

We have purchased several iterations of a handle assembly from ProtoMold. The parts were produced using both their 3D printing and CNC capabilities, and were dimensionaly very close to nominal with good surface finish. They can then help transfer the design to their ProtoMold division to make even more parts.

Strengths: Rapid Prototypes

Needs to improve: none

Real Parts. Real Fast.

R & D / Engineering, Consumer Electronics

Speed 4 / Price 4 / Quality 5

My company uses Protolabs for fast prototyping our custom designs. We are all about innovating new products and Protolabs is an ideal company to help us realize our designs into reality. Their customer service is fantastic and their support team is always responsive.

Strengths: Quality 3D printing, competitive pricing, great customer service

Needs to improve: None

Great Quality Product

CEO/Owner, Medical Device

Speed 4 / Price 4 / Quality 5

Proto labs' expertise has literally shaved days off of the project schedule. They can handle the volume of work they get and still turn parts as quickly as they do The small plastic CNC machined parts are great. With their great Customer Service, it's a complete satisfaction.

Strengths: quotes, customer service

Needs to improve: none

Rapid Prototyping for Everyone

R & D / Engineering, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 5 / Quality 5

Need to check out the design for a molded or machined part before you cut metal? Need a prototype device to show investors? Protolabs can help you out. They have an array of rapid prototyping technologies available to realize almost any design.

Strengths: Rapid Prototyping

Needs to improve: none

Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing, Medical Device

Speed 5 / Price 4 / Quality 5

Recommended for small and precise machined parts.

Strengths: Excellent vendor for CNC machining (metals or plastic). Delivery time is less than 1 week.

Needs to improve: Used this vendor for the first time, but i am impressed with their service, so really can't say about their weakness.