Application of rapid prototyping manufacturing technology Ⅰ

Since the emergence of rapid prototyping technology, it has received extensive attention from the manufacturing industry for its significant time and economic benefits. A variety of rapid prototyping technology methods and rapid mold manufacturing technologies have emerged. It has brought significant benefits to the machinery industry, automotive industry, medical industry and other related industries.

According to statistics, the industries demanding the RP model are shown in the figure. The demand for RP in the consumer goods and automobile industries accounts for more than 50% of the overall demand, while the demand for the medical industry is growing rapidly. Other academic institutions, aerospace and military fields The demand for RP also occupies a certain proportion.

Rapid Prototyping Application Industry

The main requirements and uses of Rapid Prototyping are shown in the figure. Design visualization, assembly inspection and functional models (Fit/Form/Function) still occupy nearly 60% of the main requirements of Rapid Prototyping, and the other main application area is rapid tooling. 

Purpose of Rapid Prototype

Application in product design

The design and manufacture of modern products have relied on computer software, and hardware technology and numerical control technology and equipment for a high degree of CAD/CAM integration, which has significantly improved the efficiency and quality of product development.
However, there has always been a gap from CAD to CAM, that is, the CAD of the product can never be perfect before CAM. The emergence of rapid prototyping technology has made up the gap between product CAD and CAM.
Because of this, the early applications of the RP model are mainly concentrated in the appearance evaluation, assembly and functional inspection of the product design stage, and the application of these aspects still occupies a large demand.

Design optimization

Modern industrial design covers a wide range of content, ranging from paper clips and ballpoint pens to airplanes and ships. They all contain the shadow of modern industrial design. However, the design methods of so many products are not the same. Mechanical parts that emphasize geometric figures can be designed directly through computer graphics, and a certain degree of motion simulation experiment can be performed through the dynamics of computer three-dimensional software.

Medical prptotypes

For some products with curved surfaces, such as small household appliances for daily use, on the one hand, it can be designed directly by the computer, on the other hand, it can also be used to obtain three-dimensional modeling data through reverse engineering technology for three-dimensional surveying and mapping, and smoothly corrected by the computer’s difference algorithm , The three-dimensional model data formed after the correction can be directly copied through the computer rapid prototyping technology. The advantage of this method is even more obvious when designing artwork that emphasizes changes in surface shape, because the appearance of artwork focuses on people’s direct aesthetic feelings, and there are often no rules to follow, and it is difficult to find regular geometric elements in it.

Direct computer three-dimensional drawing will get twice the result with half the effort. Even if the model is established, its subsequent modification is very poor. If the opposite is done, first the modeling designer will directly use the sludge and other materials to shape the figure, and then use the three-dimensional scanning equipment Parameterize the model, obtain the computer data of the original model, and then copy it through the rapid prototyping equipment, which can greatly improve the design efficiency.

Design discussion

In the process of product design, discussion is very important. Visualization is an important part of product design expression and the cornerstone of design discussion. Build product prototypes quickly and efficiently, and you can achieve higher design efficiency at the same time. In the creative stage of design, the most used 2D representation based on drawings, but in the middle and later stages, the performance of the design will be more specific, and more specific and intuitive prototype models should be used as the object of discussion.

Compared with the flat 2D performance, the prototype model has an irreplaceable advantage. The prototype model can make the details of the product more clear and the visual experience of the product more intuitive. Everyone in the design team can observe these designs, which has obvious advantages in coordinating the work of the entire team. Figure 1 shows that when designing the mouse shape, a variety of modeling options are modeled for design discussion. Compared with the 2-dimensional plan, the 1:1 protype is more intuitive, and the designer can feel the mouse by directly holding it. The use effect of the mouse makes the discussion of mouse modeling based on a more realistic basis, it is irreplaceable by the plan drawings.

Function test

mouse prototype

The production of multiple protypes of the same mouse can do certain functional tests, which can simulate the final form of the product, including functional form, surface form, etc. Prototyping allows the designer to dynamically simulate the model and obtain the most intuitive understanding of the internal structure .

If a material with a certain strength is used, a functional prototypes with internal structure can be manufactured to check whether the structure of the product is reasonable, whether the wall thickness meets the requirements, and whether the moving parts are smooth.

It can also be used for aerodynamic testing with a prototype. For example, in the design of objects that require high-speed motion such as automobiles, high-speed trains or spacecraft, a 1:1 prototype can be made and placed in a wind tunnel for intuitive aerodynamic research.

Reduce costs

 A design defect that costs $1000 in prototype making and inspection may cause a loss of $1000 if it is put into production and put into the market. In many cases, this problem is often fatal. The steady advancement of the design process is necessary. Therefore, it is very important to find the defects in the product design process in the early stage of product design and correct them in time to avoid subsequent production problems. Among them, prototypes are an important link that we can use.

Through the production of prototypes, the final form, size, structure, and color of the product can be obtained at a relatively small cost, or ergonomic testing can be performed, and important information such as product volume and quality can be predicted, which affects the packaging cost and transportation cost of the product. And the cost of raw materials consumed in manufacturing can be effectively controlled. And from this estimate the sales price and sales profit of the product. If the cost exceeds the initial design,It can be adjusted in time until the target range of the cost is reached. The production of prototyping is an effective means of enterprise cost control.

Market research

In trade fairs, flat panels, or three-dimensional animation demonstrations, will not be displayed more attractive to potential customers. The simulation model can most intuitively show the shape, color, size, structure, and function of the product. Prototypes making is a convenient and quick initial performance of the product. Different initial plans can be made into prototypes, and market research can be conducted through exhibitions or actual verification by end customers.

You can also use rapid prototype model technology to reproduce models in small batches. Product prototypes are sent to different regions for investigation, and more market-differentiated survey data can be obtained. The prototyping technology can predict the actual psychological effect and use effect of the final consumer of the product before mass production.


With the advancement of modern processing technology, the production technology of rototypes is becoming more and more perfect, and the cost of prototype production is also declining. On this basis, more attention should be paid to the role of prototyping in the entire process of industrial design. The positive factors are fully utilized, design efficiency is improved, R&D risk is reduced, and the overall level of industrial design is greatly improved.

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