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Rapid Prototyping


Rapid prototyping has always been a sure-fire method to ensure your product reaches production faster than the competition, whilst also meets the quality and expectations of the end consumer. However, How is it possible to discern which of the many types of production methods to choose and why are some more suitable than others? Below, we give you some information of each about the processes to help you decide:




Computer Numerically Controlled Machining

 

CNC uses a mill or lathe to work on a block of plastic or metal held in a clamp. The produced part is strong and

accurately replicates from piece to piece in a variety of different colours and shapes. The part can be 

functionally tested and with the latest 3 and 5 axis designs, very complex shapes can be produced straight

from a CAD design file in a very short space of time. There can be a lot of wastage during the CNC process

and it can be more expensive to produce a product using this method than 3D printing.



Stereolithography 


SLA, also known as additive manufacturing, uses a cooling laser and photopolymer resin to produce parts. 

This is undertaken  by the laser sketching an imprint on the resin, which is slowly cured by every pass,

adhering to the layer below until the process is completed and a finished part is produced. It is best for 

models and complex designs and is quite competitive in relation to cost, but the parts produced maybe 

fairly fragile and they may degrade when exposed to humidity and UV light.

 



Vacuum Casting


Vacuum casting (cast urethanes) is a commonly used rapid prototyping technology when low volume of 3D

 CAD models are required. The parts are  made out of Polyurethane which has properties close to real injected

plastics, such as ABS, PC, PA, POM, PP, TPE's  or TPR rubbers etc. Usually, a series of 5-100 pieces will be

run using this casting technology. Each Silicone mould can make a maximum of 20 to 25 pieces.




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