Rapid prototyping services are the fast production of a physical part, model, or assembly using 3D computer-aided design (CAD). The part, model, or assembly is usually manufactured using a complex manufacturing process known as 3D printing. Rapid prototyping services with selective laser melting, when the design is very close to the intended final product, is called a high-fidelity prototype, as opposed to a low-fidelity prototype, where there is a significant difference between the prototype and the final product.
While additive manufacturing is the most common rapid prototyping process, other, more conventional methods can produce prototypes. Rapid prototyping offers several advantages, such as getting a complete picture of a product’s appearance or performance early in the design and manufacturing cycle, so changes or improvements can be made earlier in the process. The time required to do this can vary from a few days to several months, depending on the process. Rapid prototyping services are very cost-effective because automated processes require less staffing.
The ability to act quickly and solve minor problems also reduces the risk of costly errors in the manufacturing phase. Rapid prototyping services help designers present new concepts to board members, customers or investors so they can understand and approve a development or product. This visualization also allows designers to get quick feedback from customers and clients based on an actual physical product, not just a concept. Because rapid prototyping is an iterative process, customer requirements can be cost-effectively incorporated into designs. The process eliminates the need to design custom products from scratch and offers customers more excellent choices and flexibility.
Whatever the item a company intends to produce, creating a prototype is crucial to the design process. Mold makers would be wise to stay on top of technology developments and consider their use to improve their service. The following are four reasons why prototyping is essential.
- Evaluating and Testing the Design:
Regrettably, ideas and drawings of a design can sometimes be a far cry from the real world in which the product will be used. By producing a prototype, and rapid tooling, it is possible to sit down with an actual product version and regulate which aspects are valuable and which parts need to be reviewed or discarded. In this process, it may be possible to find omissions that, on paper, weren’t visible. Additionally, creating a prototype will allow the design squad to estimate and test the product before going into total production. Visualize ordering tens of thousands of units, only to discover one part isn’t as durable as it needs to be.
- Clarifying Production Costs and Issues:
By prototyping, before manufacture begins, it is possible to take an indication of the production process and see if any steps can be reformed, combined, or even detached. This rationalizes production and keeps the actual production cost to a minimum. Subsequently, if there are any difficulties in rapid tooling or perhaps procedures that can create problems for the final product, it is much better to see these before production starts.
- Selling the Product to Others:
Just like it is far easier to see if there are any glitches with a design by visualizing an actual working model, it is also far easier to sell to probable buyers when they have a rapid tooling prototype to hold and manipulate at a marketing demonstration. Without a prototype, it’s only a concept. Getting a potential client to commit to buying an idea can be challenging. With a prototype in hand, the picture instantly becomes actual, and it is far easier to sign a purchase order.