From Napkin Sketch to Functional Prototype

Protostudios is a state-of-the-art rapid-prototyping facility located in the MERGE office suite in downtown Iowa City. We work with you to develop fully functional prototypes of your idea, allowing you to test, redesign, determine manufacturing paths and determine manufacturing paths and demonstrate usability to investors.

Available to all Iowa entrepreneurs, inventors, startups, business owners and University of Iowa faculty, staff and students.


Product Development Process, Investigate, Design, CAD, Engineer and Validate. Prototyping for Industrial Design, Electrical Engineering, Additive Manufacturing and Reductive Machining and Biomedical Devices.

Machine Services

Our services are available to all Iowa entrepreneurs, inventors and business owners

  • 3D printing
  • 3D scanning
  • 4 axis CNC machining
  • CNC lathe turning
  • Laser cutting and etching
  • CAD work
  • Circuit board fabrication and assembly
  • Water jet machining
  • Silicon and plastic injection molding
  • Vacuum casting
  • Precision micro-welding

An Extension of Your Business

Protostudios can provide technical expertise to your already existing team. We provide memberships to Iowa businesses, entrepreneurs, inventors, faculty and staff to gain access to most of our prototyping machinery. A membership includes safety and equipment use training, personal protective equipment, a personal effects locker, and access to some of the most state-of-the art prototyping equipment available.

Our Mission

Protostudios is a not-for-profit prototyping workshop within the University of Iowa's Department of Innovation and Economic Development. Our goal is to foster economic development within the state of Iowa. Protostudios is equipped with 3D design software and the specialized equipment needed to produce small, high resolution devices, associated software and integrated electronics. Protostudios assists entrepreneurs, inventors, companies and University of Iowa faculty and staff in creating demonstrable proof-of-concept devices with an emphasis on anatomical analogs, bio-mechanical devices, surgical tools, embedded and IoT electronics. All intellectual property remains with the assisted parties.

Located in the Heart of Iowa City and immediately adjacent to the main University of Iowa campus, Protostudios employs experienced engineers that recruit, train and manage a team of university and community college students seeking hands-on training in design and advanced manufacturing. Protostudios' way-of-working is a cooperative development process; not a "hands-off" contract development house. The client utilizes the assigned students as an extension of their staff, providing project direction and monitoring project progress on a regular basis. This allows clients to provide daily and detailed project guidance and have access to equipment and design talent at affordable rates. The students benefit by amassing a portfolio of real-world projects, increasing their career opportunities and the likelihood of remaining in Iowa upon graduation.

Contact Us


(319) 354-3939



MERGE suite 9, lower level
136 S. Dubuque Street
Iowa City, IA 52240