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Everything You Need to Know About Rapid Tooling

by Nice Rapid | Apr 03,2020 | Rapid Tooling

Rapid Tooling (RT) is also known as soft tooling and prototype tooling. It is pared back injection mold tooling that allows you to get parts without spending a lot quickly. To understand rapid tooling, it is best to know the difference between the concept and realization as there are lots of ways to achieve the same results.

Conceptually, RT is any type of injection mold tooling, manufactured fast, and cost less to enable validation and testing of parts before putting your money in production tooling.

In terms of realization, the RT is anything that enables you to do this can apply.

The primary reason rapid tooling is applied is to quickly test and validate the parts in the prototyping stages of developing a new product. Although other prototyping options like CNC machining, vacuum casting, or 3D printing would generally allow quick and cheaper prototypes, the primary advantage of RT relies on the materials and process.

rapid tooling product

The Advantages of Rapid Tooling

Utilizing intermediate tooling to develop a small number of prototypes is a critical process in the production cycle. RT plays an essential role during the marketing samples, production process design, and evaluation purposes. Some of the advantages of RT are as follows:

  • Satisfies custom mold for personal applications.
  • A quick prototyping product can be introduced in the market than the anticipated time.
  • The price of the end product is much lower
  • As compared to the traditional tool, RT has shorter and cheaper tooling time
  • Flexible RT materials selection
  • Eliminates the troubleshooting problems

The product lifecycle is shorter, which lowers the cost and time of manufacturing as you create the mold for different commercial operations.

Choosing the Right Rapid Tooling for your Product

Creating molds with rapid tooling sometimes will not help you save time. If it comes to mold manufacturing, RT is much faster as compared to traditional machining of aluminum or steel. However, the process of finishing touches might slow down the process once the mold is created.

You need to choose the right RT for your product so you will be able to complete the process faster and without spending a lot of money.

The Future of Rapid Tooling

At present, the RT processes are very promising for customized products. And because of this, many companies are willing to invest in research that involves itself with inventing new techniques to manufacture tooling rapidly. The present processes are being improved continuously, as well. A few years back, the industry has no other option in printing parts but creating models only. Now, functional printed parts are utilized in a wide range of various machines.

Materials, speeds, and CNC precision have improved a lot and is being modified continuously. Every year, new cutting speed is reached, and the improvements are growing fast.

The same thing happened to soft tooling silicone molds as it is being cured in the oven now to improve their toughness. New plastics are being developed as well.

Rapid tooling will soon move from single parts and prototypes into full-scale mass production.

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