The rapid prototyping process involves formulating an idea and testing of the physical model or part. Additive manufacturing or subtractive manufacturing can be used to make a rapid prototype. Nowadays, there are different types of rapid prototypes. For instance, there is a low-fidelity prototype that is used where precision is not necessary.
How Rapid Prototyping Works
You should note that Rapid Prototyping Services comprises of different manufacturing techniques. Although additive manufacturing is commonly used, there are other technologies, such as CNC machining, molding, extrusion, and casting. If you employ additive manufacturing to make rapid prototypes, you can utilize different processes depending on the choice of material and applications.
Rapid Prototyping types
The main reasons additive manufacturing is widely used include affordability and responsiveness. Ideally, this technique is synonymous with 3D printing. It heats the powder raw material into liquid and then builds layers with the use of UV light. These are some of the rapid prototyping techniques you should know.
Selective Laser Sintering
This is one of the additive manufacturing techniques used for making both metal and plastic rapid prototypes. The laser heats or sinters powdered raw material to make a prototype. You should note that rapid prototypes made through this technique are weaker as compared to SLA. The good thing about this technique is that it is cheaper and does not need a lot of resources.
Fused Deposition Modeling
FDM is known to be a fast, affordable, and quick process. Thus, it is perfect for the development of products. The technique makes a rapid prototype from starting from the bottom and then moves up. It has a printer nozzle that moves up and down.
Selective Laser Melting
SLM is widely used by different prototype manufacturers. That is because the process is inexpensive and produces strong, multifaceted prototypes. For instance, it is used for making parts and models for the medical, aerospace, automotive, and military industries. The method uses a powder material. Recommended materials for SLM include cobalt, stainless steel, titanium, and copper.
Laminated Object Manufacturing
It is a cheaper process for making rapid prototypes. However, it is not suitable for making complex models. The good thing about this technique is that it allows you to control the conditions. Also, it can be used for various materials, such as ceramics, metal, and plastic. The issue with this prototyping method is being labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Rapid Prototyping Applications
You should note that rapid prototyping is used by innovators, designers, and engineers involved in product development. The truth is that rapid prototypes are quite beneficial as they allow visualization and functional testing of products.
For many years, rapid prototyping has proven to be effective for creating models and parts in the automotive industry. It is also used in other industries such as aerospace and medical. For instance, in the dental sector, it is used to make moldings.
Rapid prototyping allows manufacturers to make products cheaply and quickly. It helps create a mold in the shortest time possible. When used in conjunction with rapid tooling, the possibilities are endless.