Rapid prototyping is the easiest way to get real parts in a short time period. Many companies rely on rapid prototyping to confirm their new concept before launching mass production.
The production of a rapid prototyping project can be divided into 4 steps. The steps of the rapid prototyping process are detailed below.
The 4 steps of rapid prototyping
1) Production of the 3D files: Firstly, it is necessary to produce the 3D files of the product. To perform this step, it is possible to use design offices specializing in the production of 3D files. It is also advisable to design 2D plans, especially if the parts have critical tolerances. The project specifications should also be drawn up. These specifications will depend on the end use of the parts and any technical constraints. Once the 3D files and specifications have been created, they can be sent to a rapid prototyping company like Prototech Asia. The signing of an NDA may be requested to ensure the confidentiality of the project.
2) Costing: The rapid prototyping project is analyzed and costed by the specialist prototyping company according to the quantity and technical features of the parts. The features consist primarily of the material, finish, and geometry of the prototypes. This costing phase also makes it possible to confirm the feasibility of the parts. If necessary, the 3D files can be modified. The 3D part drawing is mandatory to quote accurately a rapid prototyping project.
3) Production: Once the various components of the project have been validated, the production is launched. If the file is complex, it is advisable to produce parts or sample plates before launching the entire production of rapid prototyping.
4) Test phase: Once the production has been completed, a test step verifies that the parts meet the pre-established requirements. Generally, the principal components of the parts are as follows:
- The geometry of the prototypes
- Dimensions (including any diameters)
- Visual features (including color: Pantone and RAL references)
- Physical and mechanical characteristics
- Rendering of the finish
This phase aims to ensure that the final parts can perform the expected function. If this last step does not allow the validation of the function of the parts, it is necessary to develop the project further. It is necessary to return to the first step to modify the 3D plans.
If you would like further information on the procedure for designing your prototypes, please contact us by e-mail or via our quote request page.
Additional information about 3D rapid prototyping
3D prototyping is part of the classical ”research, prototyping, test, production” schema which new technologies and innovative products usually have to go through. As technological improvement moves on S curves, the benefits of 3d rapid prototyping for product development are substantial as they offer cost-effective solutions to validate phases and implement corrections. Not only it does help to develop ideas from concept to production by enabling the revision of the product at different phases, but also it provides a way to achieve a project on time and on budget. This is partly due to the fact that costs in rapid prototyping are very predictable.
One looking at trends in 3d prototyping might see that current new technologies such as drones and connected objects are effectively soliciting prototype companies on a daily basis and that this trend is accelerating.
However, Industries using 3d prototyping are not only revolutionaries but also mature and ancient like the car industry. Even today, automotive requires prototypes before launching new cars and their various components.
What does Prototech Asia provide you may ask?
Our China based workshop and the team of skilled machinists offer you cost-effective solutions to give life to your projects and ideas. From your 3D drawings and specifications, we can offer you adequate materials and production methods to make your prototypes and low volume plastic parts. Our main strength is our reactiveness and ability to understand American and European standards in various industries.
In short here what we provide:
- CAD file analysis: our designers help you by identifying design flaws and offering alternatives ideas. For instance, we may inform you of the necessity to modify your CAD drawing file, by adding support structures in some areas where the parts present a risk of breakage.
- Rapid prototyping technologies fit to evaluate a design, validate a function, conceive fixtures parts, mockups and flexible parts using silicone rubber.
- Subtractive technologies (rapid cnc milling, cnc machining).
- Additive manufacturing process: stereolithography and three-dimensional printing.
- Low-pressure injection technics such as polyurethane vacuum casting.
- Global delivery with short lead times