In the field of manufacturing, when it comes to three dimensional modeling of a product or part of product first thing that comes to picture is rapid prototyping. Using this it is possible to provide, 3D visualization for items which are digitally rendered.
Along with this rapid prototyping also helps in testing the efficiency of the product or part’s design even before it is manufactured in big number. So pretesting the efficiency of the item can be greatly supported by this rapid prototyping.
When we think of testing along with size and shape of a design one must also check for its durability and strength. These two are really important for most of the products. It is no easy to test the durability or strength of the product through its prototype. This is because the prototypes are usually not made from the same material as the finished product.
But today they make use of 3D printing technology or additive layer in manufacturing the prototypes. When it comes to titanium or stainless steel, and aluminum prototypes they make use of DMLS or direct metal laser sintering technology. In this process they make use of laser beams in melting or in fusing the metal powders to get solid parts.
In case of network design, rapid prototyping is used in mapping the architecture especially for new networks. For example there is a rapid prototype tool Mininet. This offers users features like creating, interacting, customizing, and even sharing the SDN prototype. SDN is nothing but software defined network. This also allows a computer to simulate network topology which can make use of Openflow switches.
When we consider software development, even there exists rapid prototyping. This is nothing but if a team which is small in size builds a working software program and delivers it as a prototypes then it is considered as rapid prototyping. This process of development of prototype software is known as RAD or rapid application development.
Benefits of rapid prototyping:
It is not easy to imagine the finished product before even it is done. So, product designers always have a big challenge in explaining the finished product to their own management staff as well as for the clients. This is the reason client find it difficult to realize how will their product look and feel like when it is finished.
Even when the design team explains the product through advanced technologies like 3D CAD, clients will have big question in their mind that is it possible to get the same product end of the day.
In this situation the best thing which can be used is rapid prototyping or additive manufacturing. This can be an accurate as well as fast way to realize the upcoming product. So, this can make the designers or manufacturers job easy. Higher fidelity can be achieved through rapid prototyping when it comes to conceptualizing the design. This is always better when compared to conventional paper prototyping. There are many benefits of this technology. Some of them are
It becomes really easy to realize the concepts through rapid prototyping. This realization will be beyond visualization. So, it is easy for the manufacturers to imagine the look and feel of the design. Earlier CAD modeling was the only way and many were finding it difficult. Designers, who make use of rapid prototyping, can easily carry forward their ideas.
When it comes to changes for a product, it becomes easy to incorporate them through rapid prototyping. This is because designers will have a physical model of the product in hand. The iterations which must be followed prior to finalizing can be made easy through this technology. By improving the design through each and every iteration it is possible to get best output. Along with this it becomes easy to understand the needs of the destined market through rapid prototyping.
Through additive manufacturing it is possible to same lot of time as well as money in a project. One can eliminate many extra costs like cost to develop patterns, molds, and special tools. Here only printing equipment and CAD software are used to get different geometries. When it comes to quantity of waste produced it is comparatively very less than conventional method like CNC machining. This is because in rapid prototyping only the prints are done for material which is needed to build an object.
Other benefit of rapid prototyping which is loved by many manufacturers is customization. It is possible to build unique and customized products as per different requirement from clients through this technology.
Along with this, there is no necessity of special tools to implement some changes come across in during the product process. It is nothing but a small change to the CAD model and everything else remains same. This is really helpful for manufacturers.
It is also possible to minimize the design flaws through rapid prototyping. So, before even starting the mass production it is possible to identify the flaws which are present in the design. This is possible because the materials which are used for prototype closely resemble that of the actual product in strength and properties.
*The picture is from https://www.indiamart.com