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An Ultimate and Comprehensive Guide On Rapid Prototyping | China


Rapid Prototyping: Everything That You Need to Know

Rapid prototyping is a relatively new term. However, it has managed to gain popularity over a short period. Industries around the globe are becoming inclined towards the usage of rapid prototyping. After all, it does offer a number of benefits such as reduced cost, error-free production, etc.

The method incorporates a number of manufacturing technologies. The most common of these technologies is additive manufacturing. Nonetheless, there are other technologies that manufacturers use to RP include molding, extruding, casting, and high-speed machining.

So, in this blog post, we will talk about the rapid prototyping, its types, and its advantages.

Introduction to Rapid-Prototyping

You might have heard the term prototyping in the software field. They use it to create software in an effective and efficient manner. The same rule of prototyping applies in other fields as well.

In the simplest form, we can define rapid-prototyping as creating prototypes efficiently. Engineers use these prototypes to test the validity of their product design. Moreover, they are able to see how the final product would look and function.

A more formal definition is: Prototype is a preliminary version of an end-product. It makes it possible to evaluate the design, analyze its working, and test its technology. This results in a product that has the specification that would work in the real-world system.

There is no denying the importance of prototypes in designing the product. In addition, it plays a vital role in the overall development cycle of the product. The good thing about rapid-prototyping is that you can use it at any stage of the product development cycle.

Moreover, you can use it for a certain component or a sub-component of the product. The versatility in terms of production makes RP an excellent choice. What more is that you can make as many changes to the prototype as you like.

The endless iterations are not expensive especially when you compare them with the rework you might have to do in case of design error with the entire product batch.

Rapid Prototyping in china

Rapid-Prototyping: Different Techniques

Below, we have listed different types of Rapid-prototyping.

Vat Photopolymerization or Stereolithography

Vat photopolymerization is an inexpensive, yet efficient technique. Being the first fruitful marketable 3D printing technique, it became very popular in a short time. The technique uses a photosensitive liquid to make the prototype. The ultra-violet light monitored by a computer solidifies this liquid layer by layer to achieve the respective results.

Selective Laser Sintering -- (SLS)

SLS is an effective technique for both plastic and metal prototyping. It uses a powder bed to create one layer of the prototype at one time. To sinter and heat the powder material, SLS uses a high-power laser. Although, it can manipulate two different materials, it lacks the robustness of the SLA.

The prototypes created using SLS are not steady. Furthermore, most products require secondary work to achieve the surface of a finished product.

Fused Deposition Modelling

Another inexpensive rapid-prototyping technique is fused deposition. You will find this technique part of many non-industrial 3D printers. The procedure requires a spool of thermoplastic filament. It melts the material inside the nozzle barrel of the printer.

Now, the computer deposition program lays down the melted material layer by layer in accordance with the requirements. Initially, the fused deposition modeling offered low-quality and weak products. However, technological advancement has improved the entire process.

It still is affordable, yet the quality of the prototype has improved tremendously.

Selective Laser Melting

If the prototype you require is complex and should be highly durable, the SLM prototyping technique is your best shot. Industries like automotive, medical, defense and aerospace frequently use SLM.

The procedure makes use of fine metal powder. It melts the powder layer by layer, thus gradually upbuilding up the prototype. Manufacturers also use this technique to build robust and strong components. For melting the power, it uses either an electron beam or high-powered lasers.

Cobalt Chrome alloys, aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel are the common Selective Laser Melting materials.

Sheet Lamination

Unlike the SLS and SLM, Laminated Object Manufacturing lack the rigidness. There is no need for specially controlled conditions. The less sophisticated technique uses several laminates. These series of laminates are always thin. It then uses laser beams to cut these laminate piles to produce the CAD design.

To build the part, each layer is fused on top of the preceding one. The process goes on until the desired shape is achieved.

Binder Jetting

Binder jetting offers the facility of printing several parts at the same time. It does offer mass production; however, the quality of the prototype is not very strong. The technique uses a powder bed. To bind the powder particles together, it sprays droplets of the liquid via nozzles.

These liquid droplets are micro-fine. This process is repeated for every layer of the part. Moreover, it is important to compact a layer using a roller, before starting with the next layer of the powder.

Doing this solidifies the entire process. To further enhance the robustness of the product, it is cured in an oven. This curing helps to burn off the binding agent. At the same time, it helps in powder fusing in just the right coherent parts.

Digital Light Processing

Digital light processing uses the same mechanism as that of the SLA. However, it does not require an extremely sophisticated method for the cure of polymerization of resins. It uses an orthodox light source to cure the resins.

Even though it is cheaper and faster in comparison to the SLA, the technique does require a post building curing. In addition, there is a need for support structures.

Prototype in Product Design

It is possible to category prototypes. However, this greatly depends upon the accuracy that is required by the consumer. In formal words, you can categorize prototypes based on fidelity.

  1. Fidelity Types
  2. Low Fidelity Prototype

These types of prototypes do not look like the final product. They may vary to a certain degree. The difference depends upon what the product designer wants to achieve from the prototype.

Low Fidelity

The low fidelity products are extremely simple. It is possible to produce them in a short period.  The basic idea is to test the broader concepts, for instance, cardboard mock-ups or paper sketches.

High Fidelity

The high-fidelity products are extremely similar to that of the final product. They not only look like the final product but also offer most of its functionality.

Why Rapid Prototyping is Important?

For a company to stay afloat in the modern-day, fast-moving consumer market, it needs to be innovative. Not only this, but the company also needs up to come up with better, advance, and sophisticated products fast to ensure competitiveness.

Since technology innovation and faster product development plays a vital role in the company’s success, therefore, the rapid prototyping becomes an important part of the development cycle of the product.

With rapid prototyping, it is possible to achieve the following.

  • Prototyping makes it possible to create newer products efficiently. It tends to speed up the entire product development cycle.
  • It is possible for the engineers to determine whether their product idea will work or not well before stepping into the production phase. With RP, you can actually validate your product design idea.
  • It also offers the final stage product verification against the business objectives and the technical requirement.
  • With prototyping, the end-users, customers, clients can give feedback in real-time as they would have a tangible product to work with.

Rapid Prototyping in china

Take Away

Rapid Prototyping aids technology innovation in every possible way. It lets developers and engineers validate the product idea. In addition, it lets you find any fault in the product design, well before the production phase.

With rapid-prototyping, you can actually transform your idea into something tangible. You can present the idea to investors with more confidence and increase the chances of landing them.

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