Rapid prototyping is critical for product development, as well as the occupation of the market by new products. What exactly is rapid prototyping? What kinds of prototyping exist? Let us now look at the specific introduction.
What is rapid prototyping?
Following the completion of the product drawing design, R & D companies must create functional prototypes to test the rationality of the product’s appearance or structure. They may make further changes (to the design, materials, etc.) based on the research results before the products go on the market. It will help them save time and money and quickly check the feasibility of a design or a component.
Rapid prototyping involves specialized manufacturing techniques for making prototypes of your design. Rapid prototyping allows you to create parts or complete products to assess component fit and function without investing in hard tooling. CNC Machining, 3D printing, Vacuum Casting, Sheet Metal Fabrication, and Pressure Die Casting are common methods for producing prototype models.
Benefits of Rapid Prototyping
- Demonstrate the product’s functionality and appearance.
- Show a physical model of your product to your customers and investors.
- Before going into production, test the market for your product.
- Identify and eliminate design defects to save time and money.
- Streamline and improve the manufacturing process
Types of prototypes
CNC Prototyping: It is currently the primary processing method in the prototype industry. The processed materials are not restricted in any way, except for soft rubber, which can not be processed.
The strength of the CNC prototype is superior to that of 3D printing and complex mould production. The benefits of CNC prototypes are primarily manifested in their speed.
They can also accurately reflect the drawings. The information expressed is accurate, and the surface quality of the CNC prototype is excellent, especially after the surface spraying and silk screen printing are completed; it will be even more refined than the product produced by opening the mould.
3D Printing: 3D printing, including SLA, SLS, SLM, and FDM, is a kind of additive manufacturing that produces parts directly from your CAD data. We can use it for plastics and metals.
It allows you to create strong, complex geometries, internal lattice structures, conformal cooling channels, and other features that traditional machining can not make.
The production cycle is shorter than CNC processing and can be completed quickly, within a day. It can print metal materials now, but the surface of the printed prototype will be rougher and more expensive than CNC processing.
3D printing is widely used in various industries, for example, aerospace, medical, and automotive.
Urethane Casting: You must first create an original version. CNC processing or 3D printing can be used to create the original version, and 3D printing is recommended for more complex products. The original version is used to create a silicone mould.
The main benefits are the quick processing time and low cost.
Sheet Metal Fabrication: By bending, punching, and cutting standard gauge metal, Sheet metal fabrication produces durable, end-use metal parts with a wide selection of materials, including Stainless steel, Aluminum, Titanium, Brass, Copper, Bronze, etc.
Sheet metal products are widely used in industries like Automotive, Medical Devices, Aerospace, electronics, energy, etc.