Prototyping Products & Services

About the Prototyping Service

A 3D-printed architectural model of a mixed retail and housing development, made by Oxford Hackspace for a customer.
A 3D-printed architectural model of a mixed retail and housing development, made by Oxford Hackspace for a customer.

Oxford Hackspace operates a professional product prototyping service for paying clients of all kinds, from local industries through to community groups and everyone else in between. Our friendly and experienced staff can guide you through the most appropriate solution to your prototyping needs, and produce finished articles to your specifications.

Some examples of our prototyping work include 3D printed items, laser cutting in plastic, wood, acrylic, fibre boards, electronics (wearable and not), 3D milling, extensive 3D architectural models, and woodwork. Please see the very extensive list of our product type offerings further down the page for more information.

Product Consulting and Design Service

One of our technicians hard at work
One of our technicians hard at work

Oxford Hackspace currently employs two prototyping technicians to help us carry out product prototyping orders placed by local businesses, startups and individuals.

Anyone can come along during Oxhack’s technician opening hours and have a chat with the prototyping technicians about their product ideas, the problems they need solved, their specifications, materials options, manufacturing methods, and market considerations. Alternatively, you can also email us at prototyping@oxhack.org to discuss your needs.

We offer consultation services about every aspect of prototyping a product, and depending on the stage at which you come to us, the technicians can:

  • implement a pre-existing design using materials of your choice;
  • iterate and troubleshoot an unfinished design to completion for you;
  • design the product from scratch to your specifications; or, in some cases,
  • teach you to use the appropriate Oxhack workshop tools to build the product yourself, if desired.

Once you have your prototype built, Oxhack can also connect you to resources like business plan support, mentors, and angel investors to help you progress your idea further.

Placing a Product Order

A prototype component we created for a customer
A prototype component we created for a customer

You can place a product order with the Hackspace either in person during the technician opening hours, by phoning 01865 261462 during technician hours, or by writing to prototyping@oxhack.org with your specifications and deadline.

By placing an order for a prototype, businesses can take a product they’ve been visualizing from concept to reality literally over night. Once you have a prototype of your product in your hands, the whole game changes.

In addition to product prototypes, we also build workpieces for installation in homes and workplaces, as well as models for public display–please see the list of product types that we can make below. If you have an idea for something not listed there, please get in touch to discuss it. No questions are silly to us.

For general questions, you can also tweet at us at @OxfordHackspace and we’ll do our best to get you an answer.

Product Types That We Can Build For You

Below is a list of services and product types that we should normally be able to accept manufacting orders for. If you have something different in mind that isn’t on the list, please ask! We love new challenges.

westway-modelArchitectural Modelling

  • terrain modelling
  • large-scale building proof of concept models
  • sketch models, proposal models, landscaping proposal models
  • large-scale detail models
  • sectioned interactive light & sound models
  • 3D interactive maps (“you are here” maps for museums for example, where different wings and directional arrows light up on button press–we love these)
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above
3d-headphoneMechanical Engineering & Design

  • structural and mechanical design of products
  • building of proofs of concept
  • 3D printing & scanning, wood, plastic & foam work, laser cutting, machining
  • design and building of multirotors, flying devices, vehicles, robots
  • small-scale manufacturing: part design, cogs, turbines, housings, pulleys
  • design and building of games, interactive items and interactive toys
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above
laser-boxProduct Design Prototyping

  • basic 3-dimensional proofs of concept and test models at scale (boxes, cases, objects, e.g. bottles, fake device shapes & materials)
  • models to present to investors or to test ergonomics
  • CAD model creation, conversion or improvement
  • wide variety of materials used, including plastics, exotic 3d print materials, modelling foam
  • 3d printing, laser cutting, CNC milling, finishing
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above
rfid-electronicsElectronics Prototyping, Internet of Things & Electronics Wearables

  • design and creation of printed circuit boards and housings
  • in-house manufacture, assembly, and reflow soldering of PCBs, individual boards or small production runs
  • placing and management of orders within the UK or abroad, for larger runs,  smaller sizes or for more than two sides
  • Internet of Things and sensor networks integration, especially LoRaWAN
  • programming of associated applications & firmware
  • integration of electronics into or with worn textile or body items
  • 3D scanning of body parts to aid in design of wearable electronics
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above
laser-cuttingDisplays, Cases, Shop Sign-Making & Museum Pieces

  • design and building of displays and display cases for shop fronts, museums, schools, art galleries, art installations, college design exhibitions.
  • all sizes available, big or quite small
  • support for student course display needs available
  • able to create bespoke sizes, shapes, contouring to create “as it was used” contextual displays, where eg. museum pieces with parts missing are shown as they would have been used.
  • sign-making for small business store fronts, directional plaques, parking signs
  • many types of signs available, from laser-etched wood “opening hours” or “welcome” signs, to larger, waterproof, dual-colour outdoor milled perspex signs
  • award & trophy design and manufacture–both plaques and 3D trophies
  • acrylic, perspex, wood, foam, mould-making, 3D printing, etc.
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above
img_1101Teaching Aids, Robot Arms, Science Experiments & Educational Kits

  • robot arms, water wheels, laser cut or etched items, dinosaurs or vehicles for parts assembly, educational kits
  • creation and assembly of parts for educational workshops and schools
  • support for teachers, clubs, Scouts/Guides, and home schoolers
  • technicians can produce items or teachers may be able to be taught to use tools used often
  • 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics & many more manufacturing modalities
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above
tie-pilot-featuredTheatre Props, Cosplay, and Costuming

  • prop- and scenery-making service offered to local theatres, schools, colleges, drama groups, theatre and video production companies
  • lifecasting to create custom prosthetic applications and makeup appliances for actors—using clay, plaster, moulds, 3D scanning *
  • 3D printer and scanner support for fashion design applications
  • DIY tutorials and workshops may be available, targeted at college design exhibitions, comic cons, live roleplaying groups and specific holidays and events
  • work types expected*: resin casting, painting & lacquering, laser cutting, vacuum forming, fibreglassing, mould work, plaster and clay work, etc.
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above
  • * Please note that not all of these manufacturing types or services are currently available, particularly the more toxic ones. Over time, Oxford Hackspace will be expanding its offerings to include these.
woodworkHome Repair and Automation

  • consultations, design, problem-solving, and prototyping of parts to solve household problems in repair or automation
  • provision of service to eg. cut shelves to size, prototype an electronics board to open blinds
  • design and building of eg. temperature and humidity sensors for indoors or outdoors, home sensor networks, health, environment or people-monitoring applications (please see Internet of Things section above)
  • workshops may be available on typical home repair problems, suitable for parents and children–please inquire
  • design consultation and support services for all of the above