Rapid Prototyping and Its Benefits Explained

In the early days of manufacturing, rapid prototyping did not exist. Designers and engineers spent countless hours using a variety of tools to build their proof-of-concept models. To make matters worse, on the production line, the manufacturing process frequently echoed the methods used to craft the functional prototype. The problem with this is that the cost of setting up the equipment for injection molding or CNC machining is costly. From Design to Prototype   Before the advent of rapid prototyping things like short production runs and making custom prototypes were often prohibitively expensive. Thanks to the advent of fast prototyping, it is possible for designers and engineers to go from CAD to a finished prototype quickly. This helps to reduce the time needed and the cost to complete the prototype. It also makes it possible for faster testing and rapid changes to the initial design in accordance with any design change requests.   Fast Fabrication – The Backbone of Modern Prototyping    Rapid prototyping is an umbrella term covering several printing techniques used to quickly create a scale model of a single part or assembly from the CAD data. Since this process is most frequently used with additive process instead of the more traditional subtractive manufacturing, this term is most commonly associated with 3D printing and additive manufacturing.   This type of manufacturing is the perfect choice for use in prototyping. There is no tooling to deal with and the process offers virtually unlimited freedom of form. More importantly, this process is capable of producing parts that are very close in property to those made using traditional manufacturing processes, especially when working with metal 3D printed parts.   Although 3D printing has been available since the 1980s, it was far too complex and expensive. The development of bench and desktop 3D printing technology has changed this and led to it being quickly adopted into the manufacturing world. Thanks to the ready availability of 3D printing, designers and engineers have the ability to move from digital CAD images to a completed prototype in record time.   How Fast Is It?   With this type of technology, a product can go from the drawing board to a completed prototype in one day, leaving the design and engineering teams plenty of time to make changes. This makes it possible for manufacturers to quickly bring superior products to the marketplace ahead of their competition.   Benefits of Faster Prototyping   This faster way to create prototypes allows manufacturers to keep the cost of developing a new product low. It also allows the design team to go from visualization to a product they can use in comparison studies.   By having a physical prototype in their hands, designers have the ability to share their ideas with their colleagues, customers, and others who are working on the same projects quickly. This makes it possible for those involved in the project to provide accurate and useful feedback. Feedback like this is a vital part of producing better parts both for the job at hand and in overall quality.   At Additive Manufacturing LLC, we have incorporated rapid prototyping into our 3D printing services in order to help you speed your product to market ahead of the curve. For more information, contact us at (877) 238-7907.