Business Process

What is Rapid Prototyping and Types of Techniques It Uses

If you are looking to find your next manufacturing solution, you may be interested in rapid prototyping.

The name has not been around long, as it is a relatively new process, but it does help in assessing new engineering designs. Let’s take a look at what is rapid prototyping in the manufacturing process.

What is Rapid Prototyping?

When evaluating engineering and manufacturing design, its prototype is very important. This allows users to have an idea of what limitations or specifications need to be added to their overall design.

The process by which these prototypes are created is called “rapid prototyping”. The process helps to make a sample of design as quickly as possible. 

There is a big misconception when it comes to understanding the differences between prototyping and 3D-printing, and although they are related, they are not the same.

A type of rapid prototyping could be 3D printing or another series of operations. 3D printing is an example of additive manufacturing, while prototyping focuses on the end product of design. 

Why use Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping services allow engineers and designers the ability to produce products faster, as the industry demands speed and accuracy.

Creating prototypes helps the product development process move quicker. It allows product testing before its final design is complete and is essential in making sure a product meets company standards and expectations.

A popular choice is using an SLS rapid prototyping service. This process is done with a laser to fuse materials to make the prototype.

After providing functionality testing of the product, finalize the design, this is usually the last stage of verification that gives customers and clients a hands-on experience to receive feedback and make changes if needed. Let’s look at some types of rapid prototyping.

Rapid Prototyping Types

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Binder jetting
  • Direct metal laser sintering(DMLS)
  • Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) 
  • Poly jetting
  • Stereolithography (SLA)
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS)

The above are the main types of rapid prototyping available but three other techniques can be used as well:

  1. CNC Rapid Prototyping 
  2. Investment Casting 
  3. Vacuum Casting

If you are looking into rapid prototyping check out the advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantages of Rapid Prototyping 

  • Allows functionality testing
  • Reduces Risk
  • Reduced development time
  • Reduced development cost.

Disadvantages of rapid prototyping

  • Added initial costs
  • Lack of accuracy
  • Material properties cannot be matched
  • Requires skilled labor

These advantages and disadvantages are just some associated with the entire prototyping process but researching what your design needs is very important.

Each prototyping method requires a different amount of time, comes with its limitations and can be completed with the use of different materials.

Finding which method is most effective to your budget, time, and development limitations can be a predictor for successful product development.