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Jump-starting Innovation

Welcome to the Cool Idea! website - Proto Labs' new program to award innovative thinking and help get great ideas off the ground. The Proto Labs Cool Idea award is all about nurturing promising products while they're still ideas.

Proto Labs is the world's fastest custom manufacturer of prototype and low-volume parts. Our Firstcut CNC machining service and Protomold injection molding services provide real parts from a 3D CAD model in as fast as one business day.

In 2011 we will award $100,000 in Firstcut CNC machined and/or Protomold injection molded parts to somebody—or more than one person—with a cool idea for a product. (One or more winners will be selected each quarter.)

Winners can use their fully functional Firstcut and Protomold parts for prototyping, design iterations, testing, or even an initial production run—in short, helping move a project from pie-in-the-sky to product on the shelf.

And that's our goal. What we want to do is recognize innovative thinking at a point where we can help convert those ideas into real-life coolness.

Apply Now!

The Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award is a great opportunity for designers to submit their best ideas, with the opportunity to have the idea funded with up to $100,000 in Firstcut CNC machined and/or Protomold injection molded parts! Apply now, because your idea could be the next big one.

Apply Now

Rules & Regulations

There are a lot of competitions for products that are already in production and on the market. The Cool Idea! Award comes in much further upstream, at the design and development stage, when innovators are too often stymied by lack of resources to turn their ideas into real products.

Learn More

Previous Awards & Case Studies

See the latest winner and their cool idea! Also featured is a list of all previous winners and their winning ideas.

See Previous Winners & Case Studies

Press Releases

Not only do you have the opportunity to have your idea funded, but it can also be recognized by the community. It’s a great way to get a head start with your idea.

See Press Releases