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Ben Hawksworth at the Hawk3DProto 3D printing showroom at Cutwel's headquarters in West Yorkshire.
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3D printing filament on display at Hawk3DProto.
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The BeeVeryCreative logo, a pre-loaded file for BeeTheFirst users to test on their new 3D printer.
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One of the displays at Hawk3DProto, with the Cutwel warehouse down below.
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The branded plinths at Hawk3DProto.
A smart, quiet gallery space complete with slick, lit podiums topped with some of the smartest desktop 3D printing technology on the market is not what one expects when stepping inside a warehouse on an industrial estate in West Yorkshire.
It is clear from the care that has gone into realising the concept of the 3D Printing Showroom at family-run Cutwel, that the tooling supplier's dedicated spinout Hawk3DProto is a serious business investment for an established manufacturing player.
Senior 3D Printing Manager Ben Hawksworth has led the project, turning his vision into a business strategy. Much trust has been put in Hawksworth by Managing Director Paul Hawksworth, who made no bones about the fact Hawk3DProto is entirely down to his son's perseverance and vision.
Moving to the new Cleckheaton site gave Hawksworth the opportunity to bring his idea to life, asking the MD if he could claim the mezzanine overlooking the warehouse for Hawk3DProto. After starting out with just two Up! Plus 2 3D printers, the space now boasts a BeeTheFirst 3D printer from Portuguese manufacturer BeeVeryCreative, as well as the uPrint and Mojo from Stratasys' Idea Series, and the trusty Up!.
"I want people to come through that door and experience that 'wow' factor. We've got a lot of good feedback and we've gone to a lot of detail from the graphics to the lighting," Hawksworth said.
The amount Cutwel has invested in the Hawk3DProto mezzanine remains undisclosed but it goes without saying the business understands the importance of being seen and making an impression in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Naturally, as the sole UK and Ireland supplier of BeeTheFirst, Hawk3DProto will be exhibiting at TCT Show + Personalize 2014, where both the BeeTheFirst and a Mojo will be up and running for everybody to see.
"If I saw a machine at TCT Show and it wasn't working, I'd be asking why have you brought it? It's like going to a car showroom for a test drive and being told you can't. We'll have full live demonstrations of both printers," he said.
The fledgling 3D printing business is having an industrious year, nevertheless Hawksworth cannot be stopped from thinking big. Sand and metal 3D printing technologies are a potential target to add to the growing bureau offering, while multi-colour, multi-material systems such as the Connex3 from Stratasys were mentioned as potential acquisitions in the coming years.
But ultimately, it is the user Hawk3DProto wants to strike up a dialogue with, which is why such care has been put into the Showroom with help from Elle Court Properties Ltd and Pennine Signs as a venue for anybody from schoolchildren to makers to product designers and architects.
"Our showroom is unique," said Hawksworth. "There's nothing else like this in Europe, maybe further! Because nobody gets an idea in their head like I do."
He concluded: "We're rebranding to Hawk3DProto and stepping away from Cutwel. We want people to know we're here to stay, we're here to 3D print, we're here to compete and we're here to thrive."