Solid Prototype is a 3D rapid prototyping company founded in 2011. The firm provides the latest in PolyJet rapid-3D printing technology for clients who need multi-material prototypes created quickly. It specializes in creating models that closely simulate clients' end products. The firm has already landed dozens of high-profile clients, including MIT, Zimmer, Takata and BAE Systems.
A former Navy special operations diver and film producer, Barton eventually returned to school for a degree in Mechanical Design, and worked as a designer and drafter at a major defense firm. While working there, he observed a market need for a new type of high-quality rapid prototyping service. "We outsourced rapid prototyping to local service bureaus," recalls Barton. "It took several days to get the models produced, and the quality was poor – even after post-production, the models did not closely resemble our end products. I thought there was significant room for improvement."
Barton teamed with a friend who agreed that a market need existed, and together they decided to explore starting their own rapid prototyping service bureau. The two researched rapid prototyping technologies, and discovered Objet. A rep with a local Objet distributor, EngATech, met Barton and his now partner at an Austin restaurant, and brought a box of parts that had been produced on Objet's Connex printer. "We could not believe how realistic the parts looked," recalls Barton. "In fact, one of the models was of a human jaw, produced for a medical supply firm, and it looked so real that when the EngATech rep took it out of the box, a woman at the next table actually screamed! We knew right then that we'd found something special."
"Clients want the prototype done right, they want it fast, and they want to minimize costs. Normally you only get two of these three requirements met. But with the Objet Connex printer, they don't have to compromise – we are able to deliver on all three fronts." This is the Rapid Prototype difference