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Rapid Prototyping Advantages and Types Overview

Rapid Prototyping Service is one of the leading technologies in the manufacturing area, it services all fields industry in a fast and effective way.

Categorys:CNC Prototype Machining

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Posted on: 3rd, July, 2019, | By Candy, WayKen Marketing Manager

Rapid prototyping services are owning a large scale of technologies, how engineers and designers achieve the final production goals by using rapid prototyping?

Why Is Rapid Prototyping Manufacturing Important?

Rapid prototyping integrated a group of technologies include CNC prototyping, 3D printing and CAD design etc that can quickly create a scale model of a physical part or assembly 3D printing and Rapid prototyping techniques have been constantly improved to applied many industries, including fabricated optic prototypes, automotive prototypes and rapid injection molds. Different types of rapid prototyping systems have different forming principles and system characteristics due to the different forming materials used. Among the more mature methods are SLA, SLS, FDM, and LOM.

The difference between 3D printing and RP

However, the basic principles are the same, that is, “layered manufacturing, layer by layer stacking” is similar to the mathematical integration process. Graphically speaking, the rapid prototyping system is like a "3D printer." We visually call it "additive manufacturing." Their differences can be clearly shown: price, complexity of the printing method, material choices, level of accuracy.

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Advantages of Rapid Prototyping

  • Easily explore and quickly turn concepts into the physical prototype of the products.
  • Using repeated designs and incorporate changes to develop and refine the final products.
  • Simplify effectively the process communication of concepts to physical prototypes till real products between the clients and us.
  • Risk reduced for thoroughly test and refine a concept through rapid prototypes with low volume production in the early stage of product design.
  • Save time and the cost without setup and tools. The same equipment can create prototypes with different properties and materials, thus the costs and time outlay can be cut down.

Disadvantages of Rapid Prototyping

Despite being so convenient, Rapid Prototyping methods have some disadvantages and limitations as well.

  • Rapid prototype development requires the use of correct rapid prototyping tools and it requires time to learn them.
  • Materials used in rapid prototyping with 3D printing and silicone casting are limited to polymers
  • Rapid prototyping technologies can be used for the actual manufacturing
  • Some polymers used in 3D printing are quite expensive.
  • The final quality of the part is limited.
  • Stress tests are impossible since the material is different from the final design.

How to Use the Right Rapid Prototyping Tools

Rapid prototyping tools help develop and verify designs before even getting to the prototyping stage, they are aimed at further speeding up the prototype development process. Using them can even cut down the number of prototypes that need to be produced for product development. Among them are professional CAD systems that are used to create 3D models later used in prototyping. CAE-systems can help assess whether the product is strong enough to withstand working loads before testing it. CAM systems can help determine whether the product is convenient to be manufactured

Rapid Prototyping Applications

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Rapid prototyping examples can be found in lots of industries. Printed parts are used as mockups for cell-phones, medical devices, scientific inventions, aerospace blade models, as aesthetic devices, scientific inventions, aerospace blade models, as aesthetic figures and so on. Silicone cast parts are often used for medical device testing and for flexible products. Machined prototypes can be used almost everywhere and additionally, you can make rapid tooling for injection molding by employing CNC machining.

What Are the Different Types of Rapid Prototyping?

Currently, there are three major types of rapid prototyping technologies as bellows:

3D-Printing

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Being the pioneer of the Rapid Prototyping Service, this technology has a lot of variations suitable for different rapid prototyping steps. SLA Rapid Prototyping is a special technology that requires a whole tank of liquid plastic, which is a hardened layer by layer according to the rapid prototype model and rapid prototyping machines. This technology has the best surface finish. FDM Rapid Prototyping is the cheapest and fastest method of 3D-printing, where the polymer is extruded and placed onto the work plate layer by layer. SLS Rapid Prototyping is similar to SLA but the polymer is evenly spread over the whole working zone in the form of a powder and only the needed section is sintered or cured. The materials used in 3D- printing are usually plastics and polymers such as ABS, Polyethylene, Polycarbonate and so on.

Vacuum Silicone Casting

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It is a considerably new method of silicone rapid prototyping. The method involves using a master model to create silicone casting forms to be used by rapid prototypers for low volume part production. The advantage of this method is not only the ability to manufacture multiple parts in a short span of time but also that the rapid prototyping machine cost is practically zero. You can skip the vacuum for it to be an extremely cheap rapid prototyping technology.

Rapid Prototype Machining

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It is a conventional method which developed into a rapid prototyping service because of the advances in electronics. CNC machining is the only widespread way of metal rapid prototyping. Wayken has many experiences in manufacturing various CNC prototype parts for many industries, such as automotive, aerospace, electronics, energy, medical and so on.  Maybe  you need prototype shope near your home but not us.  However, we are always upholding the principle of lean manufacturing and dedicating to the best rapid prototyping companies in China to delieve more considerable services for each of customers from the globe. For more information on our rapid machining services, please feel free request a quote to us.

Rapid Prototyping Process: Which is More Efficient and Economic?

Rapid prototyping processes have various uses and each one is more efficient in a particular case. Let's see where each of the prototyping methods is the most useful.

  1. 3D-printing. The additive processes are the fastest among RP technologies. You can get a complete prototype within a day and the complexity of its surfaces is of no importance, just the total volume. However, 3D-printing materials are quite expensive as is the process itself. So, it's perfect for standalone prototypes required as fast as possible.
  2. Silicone casting. This process yields good surface finish and has outstanding repeatability due to the fact that you use the same mold. However, in order to cast parts in silicone molds, you need a master-model, which must be made manually or by 3D-printing. And there are some limitations such as no overhanging features. So, silicone casting is great for small volume plastic batches.
  3. CNC machining. The most conventional process yields the best precision and surface finish in some cases comparable to grinding. Materials are unlimited as well, however, CNC machining takes long to prepare to and to set it up. That's why it's used if the precision is vital or if the prototype must be made of metal.

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