Catalysis Additive Tooling had the opportunity & honor to attend RAPID in Detroit, MI with ExOne. It was a rewarding experience for the Catalysis team walking into this event and seeing all the big companies & projects around us, knowing we were a part of all of it as well. As a small startup company, we were able to complete 18 large vacuum forming tools (56”x77”) in just 6 weeks for the X1 25PRO. In being able to design & 3D print tooling, as well as manufacture parts, our technology allows us to be a true “One Stop Shop” for our customers. This advantage ultimately allows us provide a 50% reduction is cost, as well as a 50% reduction in time.

So, how did we do it? We are going to break down this process.


In just 6 weeks, the Catalysis team was able to take a concept & turn it into reality. With our 3D printing technology & the hard work from our team, we were able to make this project possible. In just 6 weeks, we were able to make a machine that was displayed at RAPID.

Tooling Design –> Tool Manufacturing –> Part Forming –> Machine Assembly –> RAPID

1. Tool Design

The first part to our process is designing the tools. We had our work cut out for us, because we had a higher volume of large tools to work on. But, we were able to design 18 large tools (77” x  56”) in just 2 weeks.



2. Tool Manufacturing


After designing the tools, we received a large tooling delivery from Humtown Products. Our team got to work right away prepping the tools for Vacuum Forming. In just 5 working days, we had the first set of vacuum forming tools (4 large tools, 77” x 56”) completed and ready to be shipped for vacuum forming.



The first 7 of 18 tools were ready to be shipped to Shirley K’s and Techniform for vacuum forming in just 1.5 weeks. This means that in just 1.5 weeks, we had 25% of the tools in process!



After working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day for 3 weeks, we were able to complete 18 large tools! Now, all of the tools have been shipped for vacuum forming of the parts.



3. Part Forming

Once our first set of tools (7 of 18 tools) were shipped, they arrived at Shirley K’s and Techniform for Vacuum Forming right away. In 14 days, we went from unloading prints to our tools being ready for vacuum forming.

We performed the vacuum forming of the parts in addition to trimming the parts to meet part specification.

First 5 parts vacuum formed off of our tools.

4. Machine Assembly

After forming the parts, it was time for assembly of the parts to the X1 25PRO. The assembly of the panels to the machine took 2 days. We also supported ExOne with the implementation of hardware by attaching hardware, labels and trim pieces.

Assembly of the machine.

Once the machine was assembled, we prepped the machine for shipping and transportation to the RAPID show. We were even able to complete the project 1 day ahead of schedule!

5. X1 25PRO at RAPID

At the show, the Catalysis team was able see all of their hard work displayed in such a highly respectable setting. We were able to interact with the attendees, some of whom were big companies and executives. We were completely honored to be able to talk about and explain our tooling process to these big companies and executives. It was a great experience for our team to know that we were a part of the big projects that surrounded us at the show.

Darrin Love and Jack Stafford with the machine at RAPID.

We were also able to meet with with Rick Lucas, CTO of ExOne and discussed the partnership between Catalysis & ExOne. This opportunity really showed our capabilities and showcase what we can do. The hard work & dedication from all sides showed how we were able to push the envelope to get the project completed in 6 weeks; providing not only low cost tooling solutions, but a fast lead time as well.

President & CEO, Darrell Stafford with ExOne’s CTO, Rick Lucas at RAPID.

“To do this tooling with metal tooling would’ve been extremely expensive, and a lot longer lead time. So, being able to do that for the cost we have to do this has really been a game changer for us.” – Rick Lucas, CTO, ExOne


The X1 25PRO was an exciting and challenging project for the Catalysis team to work on. Throughout the completion of this project, we were able to demonstrate the capabilities that Catalysis has to offer. This process shows that we are able to provide a cost effective solution and complete projects in a short amount of time. What this project also proved is that we are truly a “One Stop Shop”, complete solution for our customers. This process that we are able to provide is useful in shows, testing, prototype development, market research.

We are proud of the hard work and dedication the Catalysis team demonstrated throughout the completion of this project. We are excited and look forward to new & challenging projects in the future. The X1 25PRO parts & assembly process is a template for what we are capable of doing and completing. This process can be followed for any project, whether it be auto, appliances, aircraft, and many other products- the list is endless!

Click here for more information on the X1 25PRO >>