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modelmaker using tools to create a medical device

Why in-house prototyping and modelmaking is key for medical device design

Published: April 2023

As a medical product design consultancy, we create innovative and unique solutions to meet our client’s needs. To achieve this, having an in-house modelmaking and prototyping facility is a valuable asset, here are four reasons why:

Control over the design process

First, it allows for greater control over the design process. By having the processes entirely in-house, the design team can work closely with the modelmaker to ensure that the models are being built quickly and to the exact specification. Furthermore, keeping it in-house means we can maintain the highest levels of confidentiality for the project.

Speeds up the design process

Second, an in-house facility improves the speed of the design process. When models are being built by an external company, there may be delays due to shipping or other logistical issues. With an in-house facility, the design team can have quicker access to the models, allowing them to make rapid iterative changes and improvements where necessary.


Third, in-house prototyping and model-making is more cost-effective in the long run. While it may require an initial investment to set up the facility, it will save money on outsourcing costs in the long term which reduces project budgets. In addition, the ability to make changes and improvements to the models quickly can help to reduce the overall time and cost of the design process.

Stronger teamwork and collaboration

Finally, by bringing the process in-house, the designers and modelmaker can work together more closely, leading to a more cohesive and efficient design process overall. This collaborative style of working transitions to how we work with customers, we understand the importance of being able to adapt quickly to changing project needs.

Here at Shore, we have two levels of in-house modelmaking/prototyping facilities available for our designers to call upon.

3D printing

We of course have the ubiquitous 3D printing facilities. The fused deposition modelling (FDM for short) 3D ABS printer doing the lion’s share of the work in providing iterative models or prototypes for testing or making structures quickly for test jigs, to name but a few. A smaller higher resolution DLP resin 3D printer is also available for use where a smaller higher definition 3D part is required. In general, the 3D printing facility on its own brings these several benefits to our design consultancy.

3D printer with a medical device component
  1. Speed: 3D printing allows for rapid prototyping, which can significantly speed up the design process. This can be especially valuable in industries where time to market is critical.
  2. Cost-effectiveness: 3D printing can be more cost-effective than traditional manufacturing methods for small quantities or one-off pieces. It also allows for more flexibility in design, as changes can be easily made and printed without incurring additional costs.
  3. Customisation: 3D printing allows for greater customisation, as it allows for the creation of unique, complex shapes and designs that may not be possible with traditional manufacturing methods.
  4. Sustainability: 3D printing can be more environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing methods, as it can reduce waste and the use of harmful chemicals.
  5. Innovation: 3D printing allows for greater innovation in design, as it allows designers to create and test new ideas quickly and efficiently.

In addition to this, we have a small internal office-based workshop where small changes and modifications can be made quickly to the parts produced.

Modelmaking workshop

Finally, and most importantly, we have our own full-scale modelmaking workshop close to our main design office. This is where Andrew, our master craftsman model maker, who has many decades of experience working as a model maker, is the principal miracle worker advising and producing anything the designers can dream up and more.

modelmaker in in-house workshop working on medical device prototypes
The main workshop facility has a small but adequate range of machines and tools available for Andrew and the designers to use in this purpose-built facility. Specifically, the range of machines we have available includes a lathe, pillar mill/drill, bandsaw, disc/belt sander, spraying facilities, multiple work benches and hand tools for crafting the desired models and prototypes from a range of materials, such as foam and plastics to wood and metal.
The introduction of the 3D printing facilities has freed up Andrew to concentrate on what he is best at, creating finished models of the product designs, indistinguishable from the real thing, also inventing and producing new mechanisms, devices and machines for the many products and test jigs etc. that we are involved with.
The ability of Andrew to produce the level of work he does with the small range of machines and tools within the workshop are testament to his experience which has furnished him with an extraordinary talent, skill, and ability. We are very fortunate indeed to have him working for us here at Shore. As such, working with the designers within the company young and old, his experience and skills are handed down through the daily interactions the designers have with him, benefitting them and the company and their projects in the process.
Are you looking for a trusted and experienced design partner that can bring your ideas to life? Having an in-house modelmaking and prototyping facility allows us greater control and accuracy in the design process, ensuring efficiency, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. These factors influence greater customisation and foster a stronger sense of innovation, teamwork and collaboration throughout a project.
Contact us to see how we can leverage our in-house prototyping and modelmaking capabilities to help you achieve your design goals.

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