July 14, 2014

Megalodon Sports: Making Products That Win

Megalodon Sports, co-founded by Korey Gross and Bobby Seigle, is a startup that designs, manufactures and distributes sporting goods and apparel. They began on their quest to provide unique yet practical products for athletes with one that protects their pearly whites -- a mouth guard with a customizable lip protector.

Gross and Seigle found traditional prototyping applications slow, costly, and difficult to demonstrate to customers. Instead, they turned to 3D printing.

Megalodon Sports

After some research, Gross and Seigle purchased a LulzBot 3D printer so they could create their own prototypes in-house. By using a desktop machine, bringing products from concept to market was accelerated. Eliminating this variable risk from their production schedule was good for business.

"With the 3D printer, we don't have to add a week to our overall schedule sourcing a prototype for every design iteration," Gross notes. "It saved us seven to ten days of lead time for each prototype. And we also needed to verify designs quickly so we could stay on our target schedule for production and distribution."

Before investing in a LulzBot 3D printer, Gross and Seigle would spend anywhere from $200-400 for each prototype. For Megalodon Sports, the printer paid for itself within a matter of months.

"Initially, our prototypes were sourced by ordering from rapid prototyping firms across the United States and Great Britain: this proved very expensive.," Gross says. "We made a total of 14," he continues. "The first two were outsourced at $206 each. The next 12 were printed on a LulzBot at $5 each, saving $2,412."

LulzBot printers are Open Source Hardware, enabling users like Megalodon Sports to benefit from a large, competitive market for materials. This drives down the cost of printing and allows for innovative, new materials.

Megalodon Sports

"Customers respond to a physical sample," Gross explains. "We were able to meet our goal of verifying that our design was dimensioned properly to fit in and around an athlete's mouth. And beyond that, we met our secondary goal of creating high-fidelity samples for marketing purposes."

LulzBot's widely-praised documentation, warranty and customer support are there to help along the way. "We've had a great experience with our printer and really appreciate the responsiveness from LulzBot when we've reached out," Gross says. "It's been easy to see our purchase translated into savings."