Manufacturing the Core77 Design Awards trophies is not meant to be easy.
Not only does each trophy receive customized engraving to reflect the category and project title of each recipient, but the nature of the trophy as a mold demands that the interior be specially etched in line with the exterior.
For the 2016 Core77 Design Awards season, Xometry took on the challenge of producing the Winner's trophies. Not only did they offer an estimated budget well below competitors, they worked with us to improve the fit and finish of the final pieces. The final result: arguably the most impressive collection of trophies to date.
The finished trophies in all their glory
Revolutionizing an Inefficient System
Like most companies, Xometry was founded to address a problem—two problems, to be more specific. Established in 2014, Xometry set out to reduce the time and effort it takes for companies to identify ideal manufacturing solutions for their custom parts, as well as minimize the number of ultimately unfulfilled requests incurred by machine shops involved in the production of said parts.
To this end, Xometry developed a proprietary software platform that creates an expedience and ease of use that has long eluded the manufacturing sector. Bill Cronin, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Xometry, explains, "by simply uploading a CAD file and making a few clicks, product designers and engineers can access the lowest prices, fastest lead times, and a nationwide network of manufacturing facilities to ensure their parts are sourced as efficiently as possible."
Xometry's easy to use platform at work
Xometry hopes that by facilitating this mutually beneficial connection between customer and manufacturer, more jobs can stay in the country, and the custom manufacturing industry as a whole can expand and develop.
Ordering Made Easy
From the beginning, it was clear that Xometry's promise of fast, inexpensive results wasn't an exaggeration—nor was their guarantee of simplicity. After a single 30-minute phone call, Xometry's team of expert engineers knew exactly what we were looking to accomplish, and they also provided the option to quote online through their digital platform. From their end, it was never a question of if they could do it, but how they could do in the most efficient way possible. After this initial call, it was just a matter of submitting the CAD files for the Core77 Design Awards trophy. Xometry came back with an estimated budget and delivery date—both of which surpassed our expectations. Mark Gallagher, Project Engineer at Xometry commented:
"We were thrilled to work with a great customer like Core77. Our work on these trophies was a great example of how the Xometry platform works. We were able to provide a quote for the completed trophies very quickly, and then most importantly provide very high quality finished parts."
Behind the Scenes
The story doesn't end there. As an added bonus, Xometry gave us a behind the scenes look at the work that goes into producing the Core77 Design Awards trophies. The following images show the oft-unseen mechanics, machines, and processes—both hi-tech and lo-fi—that go into creating the Core77 Design Awards program's highest honor.
Xometry uses state of the art equipment throughout their production process. Cutting the mold cavity on the backside of the trophy required a significant amount of care to give the proper surface finish. The mold cavity was then polished after machining to remove feed lines. To improve repeatability between each trophy, the machining operations were completed in stages. First, the material blank was roughed to size. Then, the part was media-tumbled after the mold cavity and top face were machined. The final operation on each trophy was engraving the name of each individual award winner. Very small (1/64") end mills were used to engrave the winner's name into the trophies. The outer surfaces of the trophy were media-tumbled prior to finish-cutting to lend a bit more contrast to the finished part. All parts manufactured by Xometry go through a comprehensive inspection to ensure they are manufactured to the required specifications. In this image, our inspector is verifying that the depth of the mold cavity is within tolerance. Though not used specifically in the production of the trophies, Xometry also offers 4 & 5 axis machining as well as complex turned parts using live-tooling lathes.
After all was said and done, Xometry had made the typically complex, often cumbersome task of producing the Core77 Design Awards trophies as easy as ordering a customized t-shirt. We could not have been happier with the process—or the people involved—and would strongly recommend anyone looking to have custom parts manufactured to take a good long look at what Xometry has to offer.