The 3D printed periscope case manufactured by the HP Multi Jet Fusion.

Additive Manufacturing Magazine recently published an article about one of RapidMade’s clients, Defox, LLC, a startup based right here in Oregon. We’ve been helping Defox develop and launch its Periscope Case, an innovative phone case which allows users to take photos and videos from the top of their phone.

True to its name, the Periscope Case uses a mirror alongside the phone’s built-in camera to operate just like a periscope on a submarine. By reflecting the image into the camera, the phone can be mounted or held flat while still being able to take photos and videos along its length.

The article explains that Defox’s founder, Trevor deVos, came up with the idea when he needed to investigate his crawl space, but understandably did not want to venture in himself because it was filled with spiders. He made the first prototype of the Periscope Case with molded clay, mounted his phone to an RC car, and streamed the video to himself on Facebook. Problem solved!

3D printing: affordable small-scale manufacturing

DeVos quickly realized that he wasn’t the only do-it-yourselfer or handyman who would be able to benefit from the ability to shoot photos and videos in tight spaces with his phone. Additionally, sports enthusiasts and parents might also be interested in what he called “a poor man’s GoPro.”

At the same time, the Periscope Case’s market did not have a guaranteed size, and deVos wanted a way to move forward with the product without risking a large investment or committing to a final design too early. 3D printing was an obvious choice, since it produces durable, high-quality plastic products but does not require the expensive tooling, molds, or setup time associated with injection molding or machining.

To that end, RapidMade worked with Defox to begin manufacturing its Periscope Cases in batches of just 10 to 25 units using the HP Multi Jet Fusion, which allowed a ramp up of initial sales while continuing to modify the design without a large initial investment. Because of this, Defox has been able to research the market and refine its product. Now, they plan to continue to expand their manufacturing operation, both with the Periscope Case and other products using the same knowledge and supply chain.

New business models for new manufacturing technologies

Products like Defox’s Periscope Case illustrate the unprecedented benefit that 3D printing can offer to small businesses or other low-volume productions with affordable, flexible manufacturing solutions. Because of their low initial investment, customizability, and high quality, 3D printed products allow businesses to offer competitive value under constraints that would make traditional manufacturing prohibitively expensive, opening up new opportunities in under-served markets. Innovators like Defox are at the forefront of exploring new business models using additive manufacturing, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!

AuthorMicah Chaban
Categories3D Printing

The folks at recently reported that BMW Group used the HP Multi Jet Fusion to print their millionth 3D printed car part. According to the article, BMW Group has been using additive manufacturing technologies for the last 25 years. The number of 3D printed parts in their manufacturing operations has risen sharply, with an estimated 200,000 parts to be printed in 2018—a 42% increase since last year.

So what was the millionth part? A 3D printed window guide rail for the BMW i8 roadster. According to, the guide rail was developed in just five days and is part of the first wave of parts being printed by the Multi Jet Fusion for BMW. It’s far from the only part BMW produces using additive manufacturing, however. They also use SLS and other technologies to produce plastic and metal parts for many of their vehicles, including made-to-order custom parts for their customers. Per the article, Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW Group, currently uses 10 different 3D printed parts for their cars.

While many car manufacturers use additive manufacturing to produce tooling, BMW Group has been a pioneer in using 3D print technologies to create the parts themselves. They first started using 3D printers to make parts in 2010. In 2012, they began using SLS to manufacture parts for the Rolls-Royce Phantom. And it doesn’t look like they have any plans to slow down. This year, they built an entire Additive Manufacturing Campus, so keep an eye on more 3D printing innovations to come.

Here at RapidMade, we know firsthand how effective the HP Multi Jet Fusion is at manufacturing high-performance 3D printed parts faster and at less cost than any other 3D printer on the market. Still, it’s exciting to see world-class engineers like those at BMW Group taking advantage of such a promising technology.

If you’d like to see how Multi Jet Fusion printing or any of our manufacturing services could help your business, get started today by filling out our quote form. We’ll get back to you with a quote in 24 hours or less!