Last edited 17 Aug 2017

Rapid prototyping

Graphic designer using digital tablet and computer in office or iStock 000079591375 Small.jpg


[edit] Introduction

In the world of engineering, creating working models and prototypes for buildings and new designs can be a case of trial and error. A 3D model can be created, then created in additive layers in order to test out this manufacturing technology.

A recent technology, since the 1980s this has been an important asset for countless industries and projects that need an extra level of rendering to enhance work done.

[edit] The process

An additive process – rapid prototyping uses materials such as adhesives and photopolymers – it differs from more traditional processes, which compress and subtract typically. By joining particles and layers of raw materials together, rapid prototyping creates the desired parts that you need.

First, you must create the 3D render using CAD software in order to have a foundation to build these additive layers upon. It can be a great way to test whether or not a design may actually be functional in the long run. This digital rendering is a prediction for the final product and its abilities, so designing something with good integrity is extremely important to the whole process.

The design is then converted so that the prototype can be printed as efficiently and accurately as possible – allowing the printer to interpret the design in a language it understands. Checks are needed throughout the process to ensure no mistakes are made during printing.

[edit] Benefits

There are a number of benefits regarding rapid prototyping:

  • Short turnarounds.
  • Accuracy ensured before the final product is constructed.
  • Cost-efficient.
  • High-quality product.

Quick and inexpensive manufacturing is the key to this process and it enables the final product for projects with small parts or cavities, making a process which may take an extended period of time be developed much faster.

If there is an issue at the very beginning of the process, it can be caught and corrected from the outset prototype rather than carrying the issues over into the final product.

It is also eco-friendly as it allows for less waste to be produced by the process of design and creation in its earliest stages.

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