There’s a reason why 3D printing and rapid prototyping services are worth an estimated $2 billion. When 3D printing first emerged it was a bit gimmicky. People couldn’t think of many practical applications for it.
That is until the design and engineering side of manufacturing got a hold of it. These days, rapid prototyping through 3D printing is changing the way we create products and parts. But, exactly what is rapid prototyping in manufacturing?
And what are some of the benefits that it provides? If you want to learn the answer to these questions, and more, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about rapid prototyping.
What is Rapid Prototyping in Manufacturing?
Before we can learn about rapid prototyping we first need to be familiar with the term prototyping. This is an essential part of any design or engineering process in which early concepts are tested on practical models.
In the past though, it was much more difficult to create these prototypes. As such, many businesses limited the amount of experimenting in the prototype stage simply because it wasn’t economically viable to do so.
Join Our Small Business Community
Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.
That is until rapid prototyping came along. So, what is rapid prototyping? Essentially, it’s a mix of products and techniques that are used to quickly 3D model a part or product that is to scale.
It does this through the use of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. Because there are no tools required (besides the printer) it truly opens the floor for unlimited freedom when it comes to the prototype stage.
But, what are the actual tangible benefits that come with rapid prototyping? Let’s take a look in the next section.
Benefit #1 of Rapid Prototyping: It’s Fast
As the name may suggest, rapid prototyping is certainly rapid. In the past, it would take weeks or even months to create certain forms of prototypes.
And, if there was a mistake or flaw, then it meant going back to the drawing board, along with months of more waiting. The same isn’t true with rapid prototyping. With this, you can often get your prototype created in a matter of days.
That means much less time between the design stage of the process and the production stage of the process.
Benefit #2 of Rapid Prototyping: Saves Money
As we mentioned toward the start of the article, old-school prototyping was costly. That’s part of the reason why many businesses refused to experiment too heavily.
And, while this might of saved them money in prototyping costs, it certainly hurt them in the long term through lack of innovation. But, thanks to the low cost of rapid prototyping manufacturers can have their cake and eat it too.
So, you’ll save a ton of money compared to traditional prototype manufacturing.
Benefit #3 of Rapid Prototyping: Greater Efficiency
The quicker you can crank out viable prototypes, the quicker your company can get them on the move toward the marketplace. As such, rapid prototyping greatly increases the efficiency with which the gears of a business turn.
And, if the products you’re turning out are good, then it can easily lead to increased amounts of revenue. It can also prove to investors that you’re a company that values innovation.
Benefit #4 of Rapid Prototyping: Allows You to Incorporate Changes to the Prototype
In the past, if there was a mistake with the prototype, then a whole new one needed to be created, as well as a likely redesign. However, with rapid prototyping, you can add any changes that your team thinks of instantaneously.
This gives you a lot more freedom to play around on the drawing board. Without all the pressure that comes with having to get it perfect the first time, you get a lot more room to express yourself.
This, in turn, can lead to much more meaningful features on a part or product.
Benefit #5 of Rapid Prototyping: Better Customer Satisfaction
If a company doesn’t spend much time prototyping its product, then it shows in the result. This could be minor design flaws like it’s uncomfortable to use. Or, it could be major ones, like it blows up when it’s overheated.
Regardless, your customers will appreciate the investment you make with rapid prototyping in the long run. At the end of the day, it yields more thoughtful features and designs, which makes more satisfied customers.
How to Get Started With Rapid Prototyping
Hopefully, at this point, we’ve convinced you that rapid prototyping is worth your time. Unfortunately, getting started on your own can be a huge undertaking. This is due to the high cost of 3D printers when used for these types of manufacturing purposes.
So, what’s the solution? The secret lies in hiring a 3D production company. With these types of businesses, they supply the machinery and you supply the designs. If you need a suggestion, then you can’t go wrong with Rapid PSI.
Make sure to check out this link to learn more about their business model. That way, you can take advantage of the benefits that come with rapid prototyping without having to worry about the large overhead cost.
Want More Content? Keep Reading
We hope this article helped you learn more about the benefits that come with using rapid prototyping in manufacturing. As you can see, this process greatly opens up the freedom for designers to make more bold mistakes during the prototype.
And, as you probably know, the best innovations are often because a designer had the freedom to explore every possible avenue. So, start revolutionizing your manufacturing process today.
Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep exploring to find more topics that you’re sure to love.