Rapid Prototyping is a way to take an initial concept and turn it into a physical model; in other words, taking a CAD computer generated concept and create an inexpensive 3D prototyping model.
The process of 3D prototyping helps identify errors in product design, which can be corrected prior to creating tools and plastic molds for production.
Reduce Production Lead Time & plastic mold or Tooling Costs
By introducing the rapid prototyping process in the design stage one can reduce lead time to production and reduce the cost of modifying expensive tooling.
Each case is different but in general, customers who utilize the prototyping process can reduce cost and lead-time by as much as 25-50%.
A customer of Sincere Tech explains that they find the rapid prototyping process helpful in detecting design flaws. For instance, user comfort issues can be highlighted early with a prototyping model.
Previously these issues were not discovered and they were too small to fix the production design so the client was not able to correct them. The prototyping process helps prevent compromise on the final quality of the product design.
Available Rapid Prototyping Processes
Each prototyping model has different requirements but generally, we find projects fit within three categories.
1. Appearance prototyping models (for tradeshows or sales demonstrations)
2. Fit test prototyping models
3. Functional prototyping models
Prototype Process Technologies
The three most common prototyping technologies are:
1. FDM Prototyping– Fused Deposition modeling
Pros: ABS Plastic has a fast lead time and good strength
Cons: The surface finish is rougher than Polyjet or SLA
2. Polyjet Rapid Prototyping – Jetted Photopolymer
Pros: Best detail resolution and fast lead time
Cons: More expensive than FDM and not as durable
3. SLA Prototyping – Sterolithography
Pros: Fast, good surface finish, strong
Cons: Higher cost than FDM
Urethane Molding Prototyping RTV Mold and Casting System for larger runs
The rapid prototyping process is best suited for small runs. Often for runs above 5 pieces, urethane casting becomes more cost effective.
Silicone molds are created from an SLA model reducing the cost for any additional prototyping process.
Urethane casting provides bridge tooling if there is a series of prototyping models that need to be sent out for user feedback prior to creating injection tooling.
Practical production runs for urethane casting are typically between 5 pieces to 50 pieces.
Which Prototyping Model Best Suits Your Needs?
For more information about the rapid prototyping process that would best suit for your particular needs please contact us: