By Michelle Graff
New York--Two longtime industry players have teamed to start a new company called Proto Products that sells products for 3D printing and casting and provides support for the trade.

J. Tyler Teague, an independent consultant in the jewelry industry and owner of JETT Research, and Jeff Hoover of Jeff Hoover Designs launched the specialized rapid prototyping company, which will be a licensed reseller of Asiga 3D printers, software and related products for 3D printing and casting. 

The company also will offer tech support and manufacturing consultation to companies in the jewelry trade.

The Asiga 3D printers print in a variety of UV curable resins, including some that are used for direct manufacture. 

Complete startup packages for the products through Proto Products, which includes choice of machine configuration, one-year warranty, support software, and accessories, start at $9,900. The new, larger-format machine complete startup package is $24,990.

Teague said that the Asiga 3D printers offer technological advancements that allow for ease of use, such as the slide and separate system of getting the parts to easily release from the build tray with smaller and fewer support structures. He also noted that the machines can use resin acquired from other sources instead of that which can be purchased from Asiga.

Teague and Hoover have more than 50 years combined experience in design and manufacturing, including using the equipment themselves on a daily basis and taking a product from design to completion, as well as fixing, standardizing and setting up jewelry manufacturing facilities.

Both operate out of small manufacturing labs in the United States. Teagues’ JETT Research/Proto Products Central office is in Fairview, Tenn., and Hoover’s JETT Research/Proto Products East location is in Midlothian, Va. They also have backup contractors in various locations to act as on-call support staff.

Teague said that there are currently no plans to merge the two labs but that the Nashville-area lab will likely expand in the next year or so and will offer some additional training classes and services to a number of industries, including jewelry. 

“We understand the downstream consequences of RP implementation and can assist you with starting the design process all the way through casting,” Teague said. “We have personally either owned or operated many types of RP equipment--milling machines, Perfactory, DWS, and SolidScape--and have witnessed firsthand the positives and negatives of these different technologies. We can tell you realistically what you can and cannot expect from your machine.”

The company already has been taking orders and making deliveries, but was waiting until they were sure they could service all customers and the machines were ready before they made the announcement.

The Proto Products website will launch late this spring, but until then, they can be contacted through JETT Research’s website.

The launch of Proto Products is the latest jewelry industry launch in the area of 3D printing. Last month, U.K.-based Cooksongold announced a partnership with consultancy firm A3DM Technologies to bring the 3D printing of precious metals to customers in North America.

RELATED CONTENT: Metal supplier introduces 3D printer for jewelry

The company is making its M 080 direct metal laser sintering machine, along with its associated precious metal powders, available for order, producing jewelry designs in 18-karat yellow and red gold right now, and sterling silver and 18-karat white gold by the end of the year. 

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