Proto Labs regularly makes prototypes for a variety of new and unusual products being brought to market at its European headquarters at Halesfield in Telford.
One of the most recent projects it has worked on has been the development of new self-heating kitchen utensils to help frustrated home-cooks to spread their chilled butter and scoop out their frozen ice cream.
Amit Pala, Ghazi Chowdrey and Imtyaz Ali, trading as AGI Solutions in Bedfordshire, have now developed the Easispread knife and Easiscoop ice cream scoop after working with the Telford business on prototypes.
They will now use the Telford-made products to drive ahead with a crowdfunding campaign to bring the products to market via the Indiegogo website.
Mr Chowdrey said: "We approached Proto Labs to 3D print our product, as we knew they use quality materials and with the ability to provide a superb, polished finish.
"We now have excellent products to take to market, showing exactly what the finished article will look like when it goes into full manufacture."
The trio spotted a gap in the market when Mr Chowdrey's father expressed his frustration about being unable to spread cold butter onto bread.
The knife was fitted to a dock so it self-heats and recharges, with a detachable handle for washing, and now the scoop has been designed to fit the same dock.
Proto Labs’ involvement began when Mr Pala submitted his CAD model design for manufacturing into a working prototype.
The Telford company analysed the design and used 3D printing technology to develop the design for the handle, knife and scoop into proof-of-concept parts, in the correct plastics.