The Advantages & Applications of Rapid Prototyping
Rapid prototyping, or additive manufacturing, is an effective way to apply a design concept and quickly create a 3D prototype. Early methods emerged in the late 1980s, but, today, rapid prototyping and 3D printing can not only be used to make prototypes but also production-quality parts. Visualizing a part on a computer is not enough. At Laszeray Technology, LLC, we use 3D printing to provide a full-scale prototype within hours. Here are a few reasons you should consider this rapid prototyping method and where it can be useful:
Rapid Prototyping Advantages
Additive manufacturing has few limitations regarding part form. While traditional production requires removing vast amounts of material, such is not the case here, yielding benefits such as:
- Cost/time savings: Eliminating the need to create tooling and molds saves costs and time. When adjustments to part geometry are needed, the same printing equipment and computer-aided-design (CAD) software are applied.
- Minimal waste: Conventional methods such as CNC machining produce a lot of waste. With rapid prototyping, the only material used is that which goes toward building the part initially designed with CAD software.
- Visualizing design concepts: Product designs can be realized quickly, as a component’s properties and design can be more easily assessed. A 3D model helps you understand its look and feel and allows designers to provide a realistic proof of concept to clients.
- Instant changes: Continual improvements in design are possible in near real-time, based on customer feedback. Product testing is simplified as well, eliminating design flaws and improving time to market.
- Customization: Rapid prototyping applications are practically unlimited. Manufacturers can produce custom products without the need for special tools, while custom options can be implemented with just minor tweaks to CAD models.
Applications of Rapid Prototyping
Nowadays, metal or plastic parts can be prototyped and manufactured quickly. Full-color prototypes can be created as well. Using computer data, manufacturers can apply rapid prototyping methods such as stereolithography (3D printing), selective laser sintering, ColorJet printing, direct metal printing, fused deposition modeling, and even CNC machining options.
Various rapid prototyping and 3D printing methods enable concept models to be created. A physical concept model can demonstrate and communicate ideas to designers, engineers, and stakeholders more easily than a virtual one can. Functional prototypes can be created, incorporating every design detail and allowing for extensive testing before full production is scheduled. From the fit of parts to the function and manufacturability of a product, all aspects of it can be assessed.
When a working prototype is available, manufacturers can determine whether they’ve achieved the functionality and visual design they expected. They can also assess the economic feasibility of moving forward with production. The process is applied to making everything from simple plastic or metal parts to computer circuits, to components for electric cars.
Bring Your Product to Reality with Rapid Prototyping
A manufacturer of prototypes and products, Laszeray Technology, LLC can develop your idea or concept into an actual product quickly, thanks to our advanced rapid prototyping and 3D printing services. We can develop full-scale prototypes for customers within hours. To learn more, contact us today using our online request form, and our design engineers will quickly get in touch.