Spark Laser reduces time to market and development costs with industrial 3D printing.

Spark Laser is a company based in Vancouver, BC that specializes in the design and manufacturing of commercial laser cutting machines. Spark Laser was looking for a local manufacturer that was able to rapidly produce low-volume production runs of prototypes and end-use plastic parts that were robust enough for an industrial environment, and affordable enough to keep their production costs down. With approximately 40 unique parts to manufacture, traditional methods like Injection molding would costs thousands of dollars and months to produce, without the flexibility to do on-the-fly design modifications.

 

Spark Laser approached Tempus 3D to find a solution. With HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology, Tempus 3D was able to provide high-quality, robust plastic parts at a fraction of the cost of injection molding, with the ability to revise the design as needed and have their parts produced within days of ordering. This allowed Spark Laser to get their product to market faster and more affordably while maintaining the design freedom they need as they continue to innovate. 

Key benefits

  • Able to get their product to market quickly and affordably

  • Save thousands of dollars on production costs, compared to injection molding.

  • High-quality plastic parts produced in days, not weeks or months.

  • Prototype and manufacture consumer-ready end-use parts with the same CAD files and 3D printing technology. 

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Photo courtesy of Spark Laser

SparkLaserMini-JPEG-1080pxDSC04555_1024x1024_edited.jpg

SPARK LASER

Organization

Industry

Manufacturing

Technology

HP Multi Jet Fusion

Materials

HP PA12

Introduction

Spark Laser is a Vancouver, British Columbia (BC) based manufacturer of commercial and industrial lasers. They are building desktop lasers for customers across Canada and the United States. Their lasers are designed specifically to address a gap in the laser market by providing a high quality and cost-effective solution for customers not wanting to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on industrial-sized products. The founder of Spark Laser, Yousef Javaher, was looking to manufacture these lasers in Canada. A mutual business connection introduced him to Tempus 3D, a Canadian 3D printing Service Bureau specializing in manufacturing industrial plastics.

Challenge

Spark laser was needing approximately 40 internal parts for the lasers and needed to be able to iterate the design quickly and cost-effectively to come up with an optimal product ideally suited to their target market. These parts needed to be robust enough to withstand long-term use in an industrial environment, and they needed to be able to manufacture the parts or revise the design with minimal cost and lag time. Due to the relatively low volume of initial production, most traditional methods of manufacturing products were not viable options.

Solution

Spark Laser recognized very early on that the cost of producing moulds for each of the parts and then changing the design and iterating with traditional manufacturing methods was not viable. The cost of having moulds produced for each part would have ranged from as low as $5,000 per part up to $20,000 for some of the more complex parts, and this would have been multiplied by the number of iterations to the parts. Additionally, the complexity of design of some of the parts was not feasible for injection molding processes. 

Spark Laser was an early adopter of 3D printing as a solution to the design challenges of building a complex product like a laser from the bottom up. They began using desktop 3D printers for quick in-house iteration, but when it came to producing the final product they needed parts that were comparable in quality, consistency, and asthetics to injection molding. The parts produced by the desktop printer were not precise or robust enough for an end-use product. This is where Tempus 3D was able to really deliver value.

Spark Laser had Tempus produce their first set of parts in the summer of 2021, which were used to build the first functioning prototype laser. These parts were produced on Tempus 3D’s in-house HP Multi Jet Fusion 5200 3D printer, which is capable of producing large volumes of high quality parts with accuracy and aesthetics comparable to injection molding.

Result

Using industrial 3D printing allowed Spark laser was able to get their product to market quickly,  and secure significant orders through a distribution partner. This has allowed Spark to test the market early without incurring massive research and design costs while keeping their inventory and raw materials cost near zero. They can essentially just order parts and raw materials on an as-needed basis and scale in a way that only 3D printing would allow.

Spark Laser and Tempus 3D continue to work together with the production of parts, and are both heavily invested in bringing manufacturing back to Canada. As Spark continues to see increasing demand for their products, Tempus is there to help them scale and meet their needs.

The Future

The manufacturing partnership between Spark Laser and Tempus 3D is a prime example of what manufacturing will look like in the future. The manufacturing process will be more responsive, more customized, and more local allowing innovators across sectors to bring products to market more quickly and in a more environmentally friendly way.

View a video of Spark Laser's technology in action on YouTube 

Learn more about HP Multi Jet Fusion

Learn more about HP PA12

How to design for Multi Jet Fusion

Spark Laser uses 3D printed plastic parts on laser cutting equipment
Spark Laser uses 3D printed plastic parts on laser cutting equipment
Spark Laser uses 3D printed plastic parts on laser cutting equipment
Spark Laser uses 3D printed plastic parts on laser cutting equipment
Spark Laser uses 3D printed plastic parts on laser cutting equipment
Spark Laser uses 3D printed plastic parts on laser cutting equipment

 Photos and information courtesy of Spark Laser.