How to choose between rapid prototyping techniques

How to Select the Best Rapid Prototyping Techniques

The demand on manufacturing volume is growing at an unprecedented rate especially for organizations with a larger reach to global markets. To meet this need, it is necessary to use the latest technologies in the rapid prototyping industry utilizing standards proven to deliver tangible results with remarkable efficacy and efficiency. The first two basic types are additive and subtractive, which are capable of using almost any plastic or metal in some cases, and the last is plastic injection molding. There are several different additive method techniques employed today that collectively offer a significant range of desirable qualities and inexpensive functional prototypes.

What is Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid Prototyping is the process by which a manufacturer creates a 3D replica of a product from a 2D computer design. It is capable of sourcing from a large variety of plastic and metal, and some methods allow the addition of different materials to create composites that feature enhanced tolerances. Choosing the best composition is when an expert who works with these processes is quite valuable for saving on time learning all of the various attributes for each possibility. As the name suggests, it is a very fast way of producing a real example of a concept or design.

Rapid Prototyping Technologies

The different technologies for additive manufacturing build parts a single thin layer at a time using varying steps to join or mold them into a single piece. Some methods use UV light to cure photosensitive resin while others weld or melt metal on a build plate using lasers. CNC rapid prototyping is a subtractive process that carves a piece from a larger blank of material. Injection Molding heats and pressurizes material that is injected into a prefabricated mold. There are pros and cons for each technique that need to be sorted through to achieve optimal results. 

Online Rapid Prototype Services

Much of the cost associated with rapid prototyping services is incurred when the part requires additional tooling or finishing work after production. This is a key factor to take into consideration when choosing techniques for a project as well as which required services are performed in-house. Teams with the most experience in producing quality results will have access to the best and latest innovations in the industry. Services performed by the manufacturer should also include computer modeling assistance and a proactive oversight strategy to identify defects and errors.

How to Choose the Right Rapid Prototyping Techniques for Every Project

Every project is going to have its own unique set of parameters that must be satisfied in order to produce an acceptable yield. This is a process that will be completed on a case-by-case basis by examining the requirements of the design and its intended function. Aspects such as heat and chemical tolerances can be adjusted by making some changes in the source material or the method used to cure it in post-production. A laminating method even offers the option of creating a piece from paper that can then be worked like solid wood. There are a lot of choices to make, and the only way to ensure the highest standards on every project is to learn as much as you can and rely on the experts who know even more.