Shukla Medical purchased a Markforged 3D printer capable of printing in continuous carbon fiber in 2017, and started using it to prototype their tools instead of using their CNC machine. It was a fantastic addition to the team’s facility. “We put a lot of load on our instruments, and carbon fiber gives them a little more strength so it doesn’t feel like it’s a toy,” says Adam Gosik-Wolfe, Mechanical Engineer at Shukla Medical. But Adam and the team wanted something more — they wanted metal prototypes to make it even easier for surgeons to imagine using the tool. Subramanya Naglapura, VP of Operations at Shukla Medical, also saw the potential and advocated for the Metal X’s purchase. After a great experience with their Markforged carbon fiber 3D printer, the team made the decision to add a Metal X system — with full managerial support.
Using 17-4 PH Stainless Steel, Shukla Medical was able to prototype in the same material as many of the final products. They now utilize their composite 3D printer for initial prototypes, and then the Metal X system for the final prototype that goes into the hands of surgeons for evaluation. “The surgeon can envision using it in the actual incision, and can tell us if it feels the right way in their hands,” says Sweitzer. “Being able to prototype more efficiently and get finished products to market more quickly will keep us on the forefront of the industry.” The continuous carbon fiber 3D printer is also used to make soft jaws for any of the Metal X parts that require post processing, making it and the Metal X the ideal 3D printing solution for the team.