How Does Rapid Prototyping Work?

To successfully develop products, most product designers create prototypes for testing. Traditional conventional prototyping may take several weeks to complete product development. Compared to conventional prototyping, rapid prototyping is faster and more cost-effective.Technically speaking, rapid prototyping is a set of technologies used to manufacture models faster than the traditional prototyping process. It can shorten the design and development cycle. It is called solid free form manufacturing, layered manufacturing, and computer automated manufacturing.

Benefits of rapid prototyping
Product designers and engineers can try physical objects in a short time;
Can accommodate more organic shapes and carved shapes;
It is easier to find defects in the early stages of development.

There are four main areas of rapid prototyping:
Input Value Field
Input refers to the use of 3D data to describe physical objects. Its starting point can be a computer model or a physical model. The computer model is created by the CAD system, and the physical model needs to obtain data through “reverse engineering”.

Method Area
• Light curing
• Cutting and gluing / joining
• Melting, curing / fusion and bonding / bonding
• The initial state of the prototype material can be solid, liquid or powder

Application Field
Rapid prototyping applications can be divided into design, engineering, analysis and planning, tools and manufacturing. Rapid prototyping can also benefit various industries, such as aerospace, automotive, biomedical, electrical products, etc.

Production Technology Field
3D Printing
3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional objects from digital files. This can be achieved by addition. The addition process is completed by laying successive layers of material until the final product is created. 3D printing allows you to make complex shapes using less material.

Laminate Manufacturing
Arrange thin laminates (such as paper, plastic or metal foil) into a platform. A computer-controlled cutting device can find patterns and cut off excess material.

Stereolithography is based on the selective polymerization of photosensitive resin. Basically, a thin layer of liquid plastic (polymer) is exposed on a perforated platform. Then, the ultraviolet (UV) laser beam is focused on the top layer of the platform, and the pattern of the product is printed.
Stereolithography is the first rapid prototyping technology. In addition, it is the most widely used method today

A high-power laser beam melts and fuse powdered materials spread on a layer. In addition, powdered materials are measured in precise quantities and spread through a rotating drum table.

After completing the first layer of the physical model, the rapid prototype will build another layer on top of the first layer. Most of the machines used are automatic and require very little human intervention. However, support structures and experience are needed to prevent deformation. Prototypes may require cleaning and surface treatment, such as sanding, sealing, or painting, to improve appearance and durability.