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An Overview of Rapid Prototyping

by Nice Rapid | Dec 27,2022 | Rapid Prototyping

What does rapid prototyping entail?

Rapid prototyping is a method used in agile product development. During this stage, a 3D product model or design is created to improve features including form, size, and overall utility.

In a short period of time, rapid prototyping can be used to create product prototypes that are tested and confirmed validate product development process, as well as multiple changes depending on the user feedback and research.

How are prototypes used?

A method for confirming the idea that the product can solve an issue it is meant to solve is called prototyping. The prototype usually works well enough for users to interact with and then provide feedback, even if some features are not fully functional.

If feedback suggests that the prototype isn't real, businesses can cut weeks or months off the development process. Positive feedback on the prototypes suggests that the product concept is developing and should be further improved.

Schematic Diagram of SLA

Image by @nicerapid

What Are the Different Types of Rapid Prototyping?

Vat Photopolymerization or Stereolithography (SLA)

The first practical 3D printing process has a speedy and affordable process. In a heat-sensitive water bath with computer-controlled ultraviolet (UV) light, it recovers layer by layer.

Selective laser sintering (SLS)

SLS is a method of layer-by-layer prototyping for metal and plastic that uses powder layers as a laser heat source to produce injection molded prototypes. The components, however, are not as durable in SLS, and the rough surface that they have, calls for an additional polishing procedure.

Fused or diffusion-reformed deposition (FDM)

This is the cheaper and easier to use, applicable to most 3D printers. The process uses a thermoplastic filament spool that, in accordance with a computer input program, melts in a series of pressure rollers before depositing a resulting plastic liquid layer. The technology optimizes the initial outputs, which are usually low-resolution and indistinct, for manufacturing by making them faster and less expensive.

Powder Bed Fusion or Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

The best method for creating intricate and high-strength objects is powder coating. Selective laser welding is widely used in the medical, aerospace, automotive, and defense industries. When utilizing high pressure or lasers to create models or other products, fine particles are melted a layer at a time. Popular materials used in rapid prototyping are titanium, aluminum cobalt-chromium, and stainless steel alloys.

Sheet Lamination or Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)

This inexpensive approach doesn't require precisely controlled parameters, but it is less demanding than SLS or SLM. LOM creates a series of sheets that are precisely cut using a laser or another cutting tool to create a CAD model. Each layer moves and links to the layer before it until the prototype is complete.

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

This method, which is comparable to SLA, uses resin polymerization treatment in a heat source rather than SLA. Although DLP is frequently quicker and less expensive than SLA, it does require the use of production capacity and post-manufacturing assistance.

CLIP or Continuous Liquid Interface Production, an alternative to this, involves continually drawing the part out of a vat without any usage of layers. The portion penetrates a light barrier as it is removed from the vat, changing its structure to imprint the required plastic cross-sectional pattern.

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