When developing a new product, seeing it in a physical three dimensional form can help spur further development. Bringing your product idea to life with rapid prototyping without a huge investment of time and money allows you to evaluate your product theory and make adjustments quickly and efficiently. We start your product concept and create a digital model using CAD software. When the design phase is complete, moving to the next phase of the project may involve creating samples. A rapid prototype is an option to show customers the planned product, new potential financial partners what they would be investing in, and be able to make small adjustments to the design for optimized manufacturing.
What Is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is the process of creating a three dimensional scale modeled part from a Computer Aided Design (CAD). The manufacturing techniques can create an accurate physical representation of a design or concept. Rapid prototyping is a cost-effective way to confirm accuracy of product design and assess a product before launching into full production. We can create a single part or a small production run. Regardless of what your product is or what your budget will allow, Sealect Plastics provides the expert guidance you need.
Why Use Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping can be used for improvements with the design, the manufacturability, and with secondary processes. It can also be used to generate quick samples for tradeshows, proof of concepts, and is generally identified as a low cost option to produce a part compared to a full scale manufacturing process with complete injection molding dies. It is commonly used for a low volume of parts, whether the parts are plastic or metal, and can be optimized during the process as each part is made.
At Sea-Lect we always make a rapid prototype before we start building a new mold. It is an inexpense check if the computer model is in fact what it looks like on the screen.
What Options Are Available With Rapid Prototyping Samples?
- Metal 3D Printing – Perfect for generating complex samples with low weight and high strength
- Stereolithography (SLA) – good for low volume production parts with a quality finish and increased strength
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – SLS is for plastic and metal prototypes with intricate internal designs
- Selective Laser Melting (SLM) – SLM is the preferred option for parts requiring high strength, high durability, and a complex intricate design
- Digital Light Processing – It has a good tolerance to the design and has a good surface finish.
- CNC Machining – An ideal choice for plastic or metal without costly tooling. It holds tighter tolerances and has a better surface
- Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) – FDM includes a low cost, ease of us, and using multiple plastic types and colors in one prototype. Inhouse capabilities.
- Rapid Injection Molding – A low cost rapid mold can be used for a small amount of parts for low cost
- Binder Jetting – A big advantage in making multiple parts at one time with a lower cost
- Laminated Object Manufacturing – A good option using thin laminates laid layer by layer for paper, plastic, or metal. The designs should not be complex, but LOM is low cost compared to others.
If you’re interested in learning more about each rapid prototype option, check out our blog post with more in-depth information on each.