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Rapid Prototyping Advantages and Applications

Prototyping is an integral part of engineering and design. It has been a challenge in the past as designers have tried to make models that could be used as a basis for their concepts. In the past, prototypes required similar processes, cost, tools, and setup to the final product. This made prototyping prohibitive for many businesses. Plastic rapid prototyping companies offer many benefits and uses that are different from traditional prototyping.

It is important to first define rapid prototyping before we can get into all the benefits and applications. Rapid prototyping uses a variety of techniques to rapidly and efficiently create a 3D model of a physical part or assembly. 3D printing or additive manufacturing doesn’t require tooling and offers almost unlimited form freedom. It is an excellent complementing technique.
Benefits of Rapid Prototyping
Rapid prototyping gives engineers, designers and developers a distinct advantage like:

This allows you to quickly explore and implement ideas. This reduces time and costs and allows teams to see the product in a more detailed way, which makes it easier for them to understand the product’s properties and design.
Repeat the design process and make any changes necessary to allow for testing and evaluation. This iterative process gives you a roadmap for developing and refining your final product.
Effective communication is key. Rapid prototyping converts ideas, images, and concepts from flat and 2-dimensional visuals into tangible products that clients, colleagues, and collaborators can see in action.
It is the ability to test and refine a design concept. A small quantity rapid prototype run can be used to eliminate design flaws. This helps reduce the cost of costly design errors that may not have been apparent during an initial assessment.
You can save time and money by not having to set up and maintain tooling. The costs and time required to make prototypes of different materials and properties can all be done with the same equipment.

Rapid Prototyping Applications

Rapid prototyping can be applied to many materials and technologies. This makes it an adaptable technique that can be used for many applications. Here are some examples:

Designers have the chance to validate their ideas and the assumptions behind them with concept models. A physical model of a concept is a great way to test it, show its validity to others and/or communicate about it.
Designers and developers can use functional prototypes to understand the details of the final product. They can verify its validity before moving on to the next stage. Before moving into full production, it can be checked for fit, design, manufactureability, and function. This is a much more expensive process.
Rapid prototyping is another way to prove that a prototype can be made economically. Rapid prototyping allows you to create a great prototype that is both functional and attractive, while still being economical.