In many cases we strongly advise to have a Rapid Prototype (3D printing) made before ordering or actual machining on moulds.
The actual manufacturing of Rapid Prototypes is something we subcontract because of the fact the we simply do not manufacture enough 3D prints to have such facilities in house. Of course we will perform all operations for you as a customer so that we still perform one-stop-shopping. Supplying a Rapid Prototype (of course after completion of the digital 3D model) is a matter of 1 tot 2 weeks. Lately costs have dropped dramatically, especially in comparison to a failing design.
A Rapid Prototype is manufactured based upon a digital 3D design. This model can be generated by us. There are several methods of rapid prototyping ; stereolithography, SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), 3D printing (lay-up methods) or even machining from solid plastics.
doel van Rapid Prototyping is veelzijdig. Denk bijvoorbeeld aan:
- Actually obtaining a physical model of the projected injection moulded article without the need to manufacture an injection mould. This enables ‘touch-and-feel‘ which may adjust the design ideas.
- Small details and fitting applications on other parts may turn out differently than anticipated. A Rapid Prototype helps to detect these deviations in an early stage.
- A Rapid Prototype may not only convince you but also help to convince your customer thus facilitating investment decisions.
- In this stage changes and modifications are still possible without huge technological and financial consequences.
- To some extent the design may be functionally tested (fit-and-function).
Rapid Prototypes; what should be taken into account:
Nevertheless there are also some disadvantages:
Rapid Prototypes are hard to manufacture in the exact, injection moulded, colour of specification. This could be accomplished by painting afterwards which gives an impression. However, this is almost never exactly identical to injection moulded colors.
Rapid Prototypes are not an exact, detailed, representation of injection moulded products. This allows nuances in the final injection moulded product to deviate from a Rapid Prototype.
Rapid Prototypes are not injection moulded products, and may, in terms of physical properties, therefore, not be compared with injection moulded products one-on-one. Issues like strength and mechanical behaviour are not representative.
Nevertheless, we often recommend to have a Rapid Prototype of your design manufactured, while in most cases the advantages outweight the disadvantages. In fact, a product development stage is actually completed with the creation of a Rapid Prototype.
Do you want to develop a rapid prototype? Please contact us.
Rapid prototyping eliminates the use of expensive maching equipment and their corresponding costs.