In the past, it was difficult for companies to create a real model or product prototype (model) which resembled the real thing or the designs that they had created in their system. Earlier they had to waste a lot of time on manpower and resources. Now, computer-aided 3D designs can actually be really created with the help of rapid prototyping. 

The Main Technology that is used

There are 3 major methods or technology that is used in Rapid prototyping. One is the additive manufacturing method. This method of rapid prototyping is somewhat similar to the 3D printing method. Then, comes the method of subtractive manufacturing, and this method includes when the material or model is cut or grind and molded into the shape that you wanted. Then last comes the compressive manufacturing method when the semi-solid material or the liquid material is forced into the casing and is solidified. For metal parts, one of the best forms of rapid prototyping is the CNC rapid prototyping method. One of the reasons why so many industries choose rapid prototyping is because of the cost and the less amount of time that it needs. Just like how the CNC machining work and injection tooling method requires a short time, similar is the case with rapid prototyping. 

3d printed steel brackets

3d printed steel brackets, *picture from

Demerits of Rapid Prototyping

Plus, it is a less costly affair as per many people’s opinion. Apart from that, there is less dust and wastage of material. Other techniques of prototyping also include CNC machines, vacuum casting, investment casting, etc. So, the cost and the speed of each of such prototyping differ accordingly. There are certain disadvantages also of rapid prototyping, for instance, there is a lack of accuracy in design. Like I mentioned in vacuum casting, the designs can sometimes have defects and defective pieces can be manufactured. In addition, it also has initial costs that shall be added in rapid prototyping. 

Cost of Rapid Prototyping

There are many such views if you check online that speak loud of rapid prototyping and CNC machining services to be a less costly affair. But in some cases, you cannot find rapid prototyping very economical. It can be expensive. Then there are other things like it can happen that the components lack surface finishing and also strength/quality. Plus, though it’s pre-programmed work that only requires instructions in the computer, it requires skilled labor. If the wrong command is pressed or instructed then it can be a waste of resources, time, and energy. Therefore, it is very important that the labor be a skilled one. 

Types of Rapid Prototyping and Key Points to Consider

Rapid prototyping can be done in many forms. Some of the types of additive manufacturing are Stereolithography (SLA), Selective laser sintering (SLS), Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Binder jetting, and Poly jetting. You can check online for details of the same. This method i.e. Rapid prototyping was initially used to create the parts of the automotive industry. After that, its scope increased and now its usage and application come to a wide range of industries like medical and aerospace, communication products, etc. So, before taking any kind of project work and taking quotes, it’s always better to check the rapid prototyping industry and its years of experience in knowing the knack of making designs, so that you don’t get a defective product or design that doesn’t fit the project.