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Precision Rapid Prototyping and Production for
Plastics, Urethanes and Metals

Precision Rapid Prototyping and Production for Plastics, Urethanes and Metals

Precision Rapid Prototyping 
and Production for Plastics, 
Urethanes and Metals

Benefits of Rapid Prototyping

On February 6, 2023 | By APM
Benefits of Rapid Prototyping

At Advanced Prototype Molding, our four decades of experience enable us to provide our customers with expertly crafted prototypes and a one-stop shopping experience. We provide a range of rapid prototyping techniques. This method of fabrication utilizes 3D computer-aided designs (CAD) to create scale model prototypes at speeds that were formerly impossible. As such, rapid prototyping is an indispensable process in a range of industries.

What Is Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping is an umbrella term for a range of processes and techniques that enable manufacturers to quickly fabricate accurate scale models of a product or part. Every technique offers its own benefits depending on the unique needs of the project. Regardless of the specific method used, rapid prototyping will utilize CAD data to create the final prototype.

The use of CAD data drastically speeds up the production process, which is more important than ever in fast-paced modern markets. For many businesses, success depends on an ability to quickly develop new products to stay competitive. Rapid prototyping assists in this development, helping companies continually introduce high-quality products.

Types of Prototypes & Techniques

When creating prototypes, there are two types a company might choose:

  • Low-Fidelity Prototype: A very basic prototype that is often favored during the early stages of product development, as it enables designers to easily test different concepts.
  • High-Fidelity Prototype: A more finalized and interactive prototype that is ideal for testing product usability and functionality.

Depending on the desired style of prototype, a manufacturer may utilize a range of different prototyping techniques. Three of the most common methods of production are additive manufacturing, CNC machine prototyping, and quick-turn tooling. Urethane molding is another rapid prototyping technique that produces products with soft rubber parts in low production volumes. Urethane-molded prototypes can feature simple or complex designs and come in various sizes and colors to meet your needs.

Additive Manufacturing

This type of manufacturing is both straightforward and cost-efficient, making it the most popular option. Additive manufacturing offers high amounts of flexibility, as it consists of creating a prototype by continually adding layers of substrate until the model is complete. Manufacturers can easily add or remove features of the prototype during the production process.

There are several significant subtypes of additive manufacturing, including stereolithography and selective laser sintering. Stereolithography is ideal for creating complex, intricate parts. It also offers an aesthetic advantage, producing parts with excellent surface finishes. Selective laser sintering creates products by utilizing a laser to fuse a nylon-based powder. Prototypes made using this method are highly durable during testing.

Regardless of the specific process used, prototypes created through rapid prototyping have applications in a wide range of industries, including:

  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Product Development
  • Healthcare

CNC Machine Prototyping

Computer numerical control (CNC) machining fabricates prototypes through a cutting and milling process that is controlled by computers. The use of computers provides high levels of dimensional accuracy.

Quick-Turn Tooling

Quick-turn tooling enables the rapid production of tooling for injection molded parts. With these capabilities, manufacturers can produce aluminum tooling for short-run prototypes in a wide range of plastic and elastomeric injection molding materials. The benefits of quick-turn tooling include fast lead times, precision, and cost-effectiveness.

Urethane molding or casting is another method of quick-turn tooling. Permanent production tooling is often made from durable materials like steel; however, this tooling can take weeks to manufacture. For projects where longer lead times can be an issue, urethane molded parts enable manufacturers to start production to meet demands until the permanent tooling is ready.

Benefits of Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping offers many advantages in addition to its impressive manufacturing speed.

Greater Design Flexibility

Expensive custom tooling is not required for rapid prototyping, as this process utilizes CAD models. As such, designers have greater freedom to experiment and adjust different aspects of the prototype without the continual expense of new tooling. This further speeds up the prototyping process and makes it significantly easier to fabricate an effective final product.

Improved Conceptualization

Without the ability to test a physical prototype, it is challenging for engineers to identify potential problems in the product. This can result in flaws that are only identified after the final product has been manufactured. With a prototype, however, engineers and designers can catch these flaws and optimize the product before its production run, thus saving a significant amount of time and money.

Clearer Communication

Whether team members are talking with each other or with their customers, a prototype serves as a highly beneficial communication tool. Explaining a design concept without the use of a prototype forces the speaker to depend on abstract ideas that are prone to misinterpretation. With a physical model of the final product, however, designers and customers can communicate their ideas more clearly and easily throughout the design process.

Rapid Prototyping Services From Advanced Prototype Molding

For over 40 years, Advanced Prototype Molding has been working closely with our customers to fabricate high-quality prototypes. Our capabilities include stereolithography and selective laser sintering, as well as options such as fused deposition modeling and direct metal laser sintering. With a wide array of services under one roof, we provide our customers with an efficient and reliable production experience. To learn more about how we can assist with your prototyping needs, contact us or request your quote today.

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1520 N Old Rand Road Wauconda, IL 60084
Tel: 847-202-4200
Fax: 847-202-4270

Certified Logo with ACG

1520 N Old Rand Road Wauconda, IL 60084
Tel: 847-202-4200
Fax: 847-202-4270

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