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What is rapid prototyping for 3D printing?

Prototyping is an essential phase of the product development process.

The rapid prototyping technology par excellence is the additive manufacturing that works by adding material, with the possibility of creating even very complex and detailed forms. Choosing 3D printing to make your own prototypes means you are choosing a quick solution that can speed up the production process and reduce time to market. Rapid prototyping is an essential phase of the product development process.


With the rapid prototyping, you can create and design unique pieces, prototypes of all kinds for various sectors: automotive, design, medical, architecture, and electronics. Although, of course, for each area, 3D printing techniques vary, depending on the equipment, techniques, and application needs. The characteristics of the materials used based on their resistance vary, and the processing times required for prototyping, and product finishes vary.

 

We hear more about it as a technique to make prototype production processes better and faster. Many companies, however, still do not know enough about it even though we have entered a digital era that offers less complex tools and applications that are much faster.

3D printing and rapid prototype:

3D printing is a technology that has become popular among professionals as well as individuals. It brings many benefits to many areas of the industry. The creation of any product is a long process from the idea to the finished product. The manufacture of a rapid prototype, often essential step, allows making improvements, modifications, adjustments to the products. This step is necessary for the test product; we can manipulate the object concretely, find its defects; it is the best way to optimize it.

Custom 3D printing provides a unique product.

3D printing is a revolution in the manufacture of prototype products, a fast, reliable technology with many advantages. The large-format 3D printing is a relatively recent innovation in additive manufacturing technologies. Most often using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology, they have the same characteristics as desktop 3D printers but allow more industrial use. With relatively simple maintenance and usage levels, high-volume 3D printers are most often compatible with all conventional materials used in 3D printing.


Many industries can, therefore, benefit from the advantages of large-format 3D printing in their production process, from large format rapid prototyping, full-size finished parts printing, to production of molds or furniture designs.

Large format 3D parts for design and model design

With large 3D printers, any real size object can be designed without real limitations for lower production costs compared to other manufacturing methods. By performing appropriate post-processing, large-format 3D printing used for prototyping or design validation can be closer to the visual and mechanical constraints required for the final product.

Rapid prototyping: digital processing to transform the finished object project into a few steps

3D printing is a fast and convenient technique for constructing real objects from 3D CAD models: product prototypes, components, or functional elements for production. There is no limit to the application possibilities of this technique that processes data digitally to make it what we want to achieve; three-dimensional CAD programs are used to transform 3D files into .stl files, the format that represents the geometry of an object in three dimensions to make rapid prototyping. Professional 3D printers automatically manage the transition from three-dimensional digital project to the final object, without the need for any lengthy or complicated intervention but with full control over the transformation process, from beginning to end.

Rapid prototyping in the industrial sector today is gradually replacing the old production methods, despite that reluctance we mentioned, because it allows starting from a "tested" model on the basis of which to start the production process of an entire series destined to put on the market, or for other purposes.

Rapid prototyping for product customization

Rapid prototyping is a technique that reduces complexity and design costs because it uses more structured processes. With three-dimensional printing, you have full control of the virtual model that we can correct from errors. It is based on an infinite series of variables and with the great advantage of product customization.

This modality, therefore, implies not only the possibility of experimenting with the result. This does it all this in a short time and at a cost decidedly lower than those required for more traditional processing methods.

Once the 3D printing process is finished, the object can be perfected where necessary with manual operations that can include the removal of dust, support liquids, or even treatments to improve surfaces with painting or abrasive paper. 

MANUFACTURING TIME

3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology that has developed in many industries. It is much faster than more traditional methods, such as injection, for example. In injection, the manufacturing time for the mold is several months. 3D printing is more reactive; nowadays, with the 3D, a few days are enough! 


This saving of time makes it possible to modify the object if an error is observed, or even to reprint it if necessary with the improvements. The speed of production in 3d printing is a big advantage in the rapid prototyping process produced.

FLEXIBILITY IN PRODUCTION

Additive manufacturing is a much more flexible and freer manufacturing process than the traditional process. Indeed, in the manufacturing environment, it is common to make changes and corrections, and these changes can have significant consequences, whether in terms of cost or manufacturing time. 3D printing mainly limits the risk of validation and verification of the object to be printed, and any changes to be made.

COMPLEXITY OF PARTS

3D printing makes it possible to manufacture parts with complex shapes and geometries such as arches or domes. Forms those are sometimes difficult, or even impossible to produce with conventional methods. Thus, there is great creative freedom in the design and realization of the drawing, the 3d model of the object.

VARIOUS AND PERFORMING MATERIALS

3D printing makes it possible to create parts with different materials such as polyamides and metals. Indeed, the materials vary according to the technology and the sector of activity.

3D printing provides robust parts that meet the constraints and production needs. Innovation is at the heart of 3D technology; the medical sector is currently researching to develop a new printing material, human tissue.

PRINT SPEED

3D printing makes functional and finished parts. The objects are printed with mechanical characteristics whose properties and resistances are close to machining. In traditional manufacturing, it is sometimes necessary to go through several steps in the manufacturing process. Additive manufacturing reduces production steps, all you need is a 3d model, and part printing is done in one step.

3D printing of real size coin

The current dimensions of high-volume industrial 3D printers allow the printing of objects, mechanical parts, furniture, scale models to perform tests, or process validation through rapid prototyping. With print volumes of up to 1 cubic meter, dimensional limitations are non-existent. By combining several parts in post-printing, it is possible to design parts of any size.

- Possibility of producing prototypes for adjustmentprototyping, functional tests or validation of designs

- Accelerate the design and manufacturing process

- Reduce manufacturing costs compared to traditional prototyping solutions



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