Rapid Prototyping is often used to describe the process of turning a 3D CAD design into a real tangible part. Rapid prototyping technologies are frequently used towards the beginning of the product development lifecycle to create prototypes or parts used to test and verify designs before full blown production begins. Rapid prototyping services are used in nearly every industry and can be used to prototype everything from a movie prop to a space shuttle component.
Rapid Prototyping Gallery
The term Rapid Prototyping is typically used in association with additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies. These technologies essentially “print” very thin 2D layers on top of each other to form a 3D object. Some of these additive manufacturing technologies include PolyJet, Stereolithography (SLA), Z-Corp 3D Color Prints, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and Fused Deposition Modeling. The most frequent uses of rapid prototyping include concept models, design iterations, engineering evaluations, form & fit, presentation models, manufacturing aids and market introductions.
Many benefits can come from creating a prototype early in the design process. Rapid prototyping can help verify a design, communicate an idea and fix design issues early in the development process preventing costly changes to the hard tool once the product is in full production. Creating a physical model also helps potential investors and customers better visualize the product at hand, leading to further investment in the product before it goes to market.
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The Rapid Prototyping industry has continued to expand since its inception over 20 years ago. Wide assortments of individuals have embraced these new advanced technologies and have uniquely used them for applications suited to their industry. Call us today to learn how you can utilize these technologies for your specific applications.
The following chart was designed to aid you in your rapid prototyping technology selection. The numbers below are based off of typical material averages and are meant as a general guide. Further, our knowledgeable project engineers are well versed in prototyping and production technologies and are available to help guide your project to the best technology.
Rapid Prototyping Technology Selection Guide
|PolyJet||SLA||SLS (Nylon 12)||FDM||CNC (ABS)||Advanced Cast Urethanes||Composites|
|Description||Prototyping plastic. Models with fine feature detail.||Prototyping plastic. Cost-effective for larger models.||Rugged Nylon material. Functional models & parts.||Production materials. Functional models & parts.||Wide selection of production plastics & metals. Functional models & parts.||Multiple prototype & production parts, simulates end-use materials.||Rugged, durable, large cosmetic panels. Single parts to production runs.|
|Optimum Part Size||XS-M||S-L||S-L||S-XL||S-XXL||S-XL||M-XXL|
|Tensile Strength||8,200 psi
|Flex Modulous||320,000 psi
|Izod Impact Notched||0.67 ft-lb/in
|Heat Deflection @66psi||118° F
|Lead Time||1-3 days
Stated properties are for general guidelines and based on material averages. Actual performance may vary.