Established in 1975, Concept Metal Products Ltd. is a forward-thinking company comprising experienced metalworkers. They use a variety of shearing, bending, punching, and laser cutting equipment to fabricate sheet metal into custom shapes that meet the specific needs of their customers. 

Although the Concept Metal team was well-versed in CAD, they had virtually no experience with additive manufacturing. They were looking to increase their agility to react to customers’ needs and win more orders with quicker turnaround times. In addition to speeding up the process, printing the tools would give them greater control and the flexibility to create tools designed for specialist applications.

One such tool, the 24 Vee metal shaper, a press brake tooling, is used to form steel and aluminium sheets of varying sizes and thicknesses into various angles, channels, and similar pressed sections. Used in Concept Metal’s presses, the 24 Vee metal shaper is designed to withstand up to 40 tons per meter of pressure. This specialist tooling plays an essential role in shaping metal into custom V-shaped angles required by Concept Metal’s customers. 

Previously, the Concept Metal team had outsourced the production of the tool, which had been machined from steel.

“3D printing is not commonplace in the sheet metal industry, but we were eager to learn how it could help support our business,” said Alex Ritchie, Administrator at Concept Metal. “The impressive training and education program provided through Markforged University (MFU) made it easy and ultimately led to our decision to invest in our first Markforged printer. Thanks to MFU, we were able to reduce the additive manufacturing learning curve and within just 24 hours of setting up our new printer, we were already printing our first tool in Onyx.”

After purchasing the Mark Two printer, the team now uses Onyx for their tooling production. This material, a flagship micro carbon-filled nylon from Markforged, is known for its high strength and toughness. Following the success of its first test print, Concept Metal has produced three more Vee metal shaper tools in different sizes.

“Thanks to Markforged, we have achieved close to 75% cost savings by printing our own 24 Vee metal shapers in Onyx, rather than purchasing them in machined steel,” explained Ritchie. “By bringing production of the tools in-house, we have also been able to save time, reducing the administration and lead times associated with outsourcing from days down to 17 hours.” 

“In addition to saving time and costs on our own tooling, Markforged is opening up new business opportunities and revenue streams for us,” concluded Ritchie. “We aim to expand the business to offer 3D printed parts as a service, printing prototypes and parts for both existing and new customers.”

Cost Comparison

Outsourced Part Cost – In Machined Steel:

Between £100 and £1,000 per part, depending on size and requirements.

Printed In-House in Onyx:

Approximately £22 per tool.


Concept Metal products Ltd