Rapid Prototyping—a group of technologies used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using 3D printing and CAD design. Now, this isn't a new concept, but in the nearly four decades since its inception, Rapid Prototyping techniques have been refined to advance many industries, including fabricated reflective optics.
How Rapid Prototyping Works
A common misconception about Rapid Prototyping is that a machine is simply loaded and a finished part magically appears. In fact, the majority of work involved in creating a prototype happens well before a prototype is created. We first work with customers to determine the specific prototype needs; then our engineers pinpoint which of the Rapid Engineering technologies will produce optimal results.
3D Printing and Modeling
3D Printing and Modeling are the most common methods, using equipment that produces 3D components in various materials including plastics, wax, and metal. While effective, this technology can’t directly produce a fabricated reflector. Instead, we use 3D Printing and Modeling for rapid tooling and fixture needs. It dramatically reduces prep time, which otherwise takes weeks using traditional methods, and cost.
Laser and CNC Punching
Laser and CNC Punching are the most traditional Rapid Prototyping methods for fabricated reflectors. These technologies continue to mature and advance, making them the core of versatile and rapid fabricated metals processing. Laser and CNC Punching are programmable and changeable so the process can continue until the part is right.
How Rapid Prototyping Benefits You
Rapid Prototyping is both progressive and practical. Using these techniques provides you with significant advantages:
As the name implies, Rapid Prototyping produces results quickly. However, it’s also understood that while prototyping is rapid, it’s never rushed. Experience, engineering, and technologies combine for best outcomes.
Better proof of concept/testing results
An accurate prototype is critical in evaluating and verifying the product’s function, fit, and finish. Precision is the basis of Rapid Prototyping.
Speed in transitioning to production
Anyone can make anything once, but what about the second time, and every time after that? The prototyping process always represents the production process, ensuring consistency and a quick start-up of the production process.
Once you’ve gone through the Rapid Prototyping process, revisions and modifications to products are much easier to implement.
Time to market
All of the above – speed, better results, streamlined transitioning and easy refinements – mean you’re able to get your product to market faster. And the profitability that goes with it.
Let’s explore how Rapid Prototyping can work to your advantage. Give us a call at 262-605-0500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help!