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How to Use Rapid Prototyping for Your Next Product

by Nice Rapid | Nov 07,2022 | Rapid Prototyping

There's no escaping it: you need to have a prototype when you're releasing a new product. Even if you're not doing physical manufacturing, a prototype is essential for verifying that your idea works and getting feedback from potential customers. Thankfully, thanks to the magic of rapid prototyping tools, creating a prototype is easier than ever. This post will show you how to use these tools to create a prototype for your next product.

Two Forms of Prototypes

When you're ready to create a prototype, you first need to decide on the type of prototype you want to create. There are two main types of prototypes: functional and visual.

Functional Prototypes

Functional prototypes are designed to test how well a product works. They're often used for testing things like an innovative design's usability or a new feature's performance. Creating a functional prototype can be as simple as writing code or using a 3D printer to create a physical model.

Visual Prototypes

On the other hand, visual prototypes are designed to test how well a product looks. They're often used to test things like a new design's aesthetics or a new interface's layout. Creating a visual prototype can be as simple as creating a mockup in Photoshop or Sketch.

Examples of Rapid Prototyping Techniques

Once you've decided on the type of prototype you want to create, it's time to start using some rapid prototyping tools. Here are a few of our favorites:

Stereolithography (SLA)

This quick and inexpensive process was the first effective commercial 3D printing technique. It uses a photosensitive liquid bath that is layer by layer solidified under computer-controlled UV light.

3D printing technology

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS employs a powder bed to build a prototype one layer at a time, using a laser to heat and sinter the powdered material. It is used for both metal and plastic prototyping. However, the parts' strength is not as good as with SLA, and the completed product's surface is typically rough and may need more work.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Most non-industrial desktop 3D printers use this affordable, simple approach. It works by melting a spool of thermoplastic filament inside a barrel of a printing nozzle, then layer-by-layer, laying down the resulting liquid plastic by a computer deposition program. Although the early results were often faint and low resolution, they are improving quickly, and the method is quick and inexpensive, making it perfect for product development.

Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

This method, often referred to as powder bed fusion, is preferred for creating intricate, high-strength pieces. The aerospace, automotive, defense, and medical industries extensively use selective laser melting. Using a powerful laser or electron beam, this powder bed-based fusion technique melts fine metal powder layer by layer to create prototypes or production pieces. The SLM materials, titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, and cobalt chrome alloys, are frequently used in RP.

It is time to test your prototype after you've created it. Then, you can share your prototype with potential customers and get their feedback. You can also use tools like UserTesting or Optimal Workshop to get more detailed user feedback.


Creating a prototype is an essential part of the product development process. Using rapid prototyping tools, you can quickly and easily create a prototype that will help validate your product idea and get feedback from potential customers.

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