Modern technology has helped us as a society realize what many previously believed to be the stuff of dreams.
We can communicate with people from other countries instantaneously thanks to modern technology. A wealth of knowledge can be contained within the phone in your pocket. Advancements in medical technology are saving countless lives.
Another remarkable feat that we are now capable of thanks in large part to improved technology is the process known as rapid prototyping.
Rapid prototyping will be the focus of this article so please read on to find out what it is and how it can potentially help your business.
What Is Rapid Prototyping?
To better understand rapid prototyping, it helps to first go back and reintroduce ourselves to CAD or computer-aided design. As its name suggests, CAD involves using computers to design and engineer various projects and/or items, per Techopedia.
You are building a model in the imaginary space contained within a program, but you can introduce certain properties that effectively create an accurate representation of an object.
Let us say that you want to design a new drinking glass. You can input its dimensions into a CAD-focused program and get a pretty good idea of what the final product will look like.
Those virtual models can offer a good representation of the final product but if you want something more accurate, you will need to rely on prototyping. Prototyping takes that virtual model and transforms it into a physical object. The process can be carried out via carpentry, metal fabrication, or 3D printing.
Since rapid prototyping is supposed to deliver models in a hurry, 3D printing is the process often utilized for it.
What Are the Different Types of Rapid Prototyping?
According to TWI Global, there are seven different types of rapid prototyping. Let us talk about them in greater detail below.
First off, you have binder jetting. In this process, a nozzle is used to spray micro-fine droplets of liquid on to a powder bed. The droplets of liquid are supposed to bring the powder particles together, resulting in the creation of a layer.
The first layer may then be compressed using a roller before the process to create a new layer begins anew. More layers are added until the model is completed.
Digital Light Processing
The process of digital light processing involves polymerizing resins. The polymerized resins are then cured with the help of a light source. Support structures are often needed to complete the process of digital light processing.
Fused Deposition Modeling
To start fused deposition modeling, the thermoplastic filament is first melted inside a printing nozzle. The nozzle will then spray the melted filament on to a surface layer-by-layer as instructed by a deposition program.
Laminated Object Manufacturing
For laminated object manufacturing, thin laminates are cut precisely using laser beams or some other tool to create an accurate model. Multiple layers of laminates must be created to finish the model.
Powder Bed Fusion
Powder bed fusion involves the usage of metal powder, a powder bed, and either a laser or electron beam. It starts with the metal powder being placed on top of the powder bed. The metal powder is then melted down using either the laser or the electron beam to create the model featured in the program.
Selective Laser Sintering
A powder bed is also used in selective laser sintering. This time around, the powder bed holds a powdered material. That material is then heated and sintered with a laser until the layers needed to complete the prototype are finished.
Finally, we have the process of vat photopolymerization. For this process, the photosensitive liquid contained inside a vat is solidified using ultraviolet light. The solidified liquid will closely resemble the model in the program.
What Are the Advantages of Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping can prove very beneficial to your business. Included in this section are some of the most notable benefits of utilizing this process.
It Produces Results Quickly
It is in the name already. If you want an accurate model of a building or product created physically as quickly as possible, this process is your best bet. If you are just looking for models of product components, they can be made in less than a week.
It Can Utilize Different Materials
Do you want to see how your product looks like made from different materials? You can see that with the help of rapid prototyping. By examining the different models closely, you can determine which one will work best for the final product.
It Can Be Used to Test Different Designs
Perhaps you are having trouble settling on a final design for your product. The good news is that this can help you reach a decision. Use it to create different models according to different designs and you will gain a better idea of which one is the superior option.
Why Is Rapid Prototyping Important in Different Industries?
For manufacturers, the importance of creating a prototype cannot be overstated. Instead of going to the market with a flawed product, you can create prototypes first and see if there is something important, you are missing. A prototype can also help you determine if you can trim some fat and potentially cut down on costs.
Having an affordable prototype ready quickly is also very helpful to designers looking to pitch products to larger manufacturers. Since they have a physical product to present, it is easier for a key decision-maker to see if it is worth investing in.
Do not forget about companies that want to have new structures built. Investing in a prototype first will let them know if their construction project is feasible and let them see if there are any potential problems they have overlooked. Rapid prototyping can lead to the creation of better-designed structures in the future.
If you want to try rapid prototyping yourself, we at Southern Model Inc. are ready to offer our services. Get in touch with us today so that we can start working on your desired prototype.