What is Rapid Plastic Prototyping & Is It Right For Your Project?

Essentially, manufacturing processes are used to create a one-off part. Most often a 3D printer is used, but it is also possible to use advanced versions of ‘traditional’ processes such as traditional manufacturing processes such as CNC routing and vacuum forming & thermoforming to develop and manufacture the perfect prototype. For example advanced 5 Axis CNC router offers virtually 3D manufacturing.

Working from a CAD drawing, the 3D printer uses an additive process to produce the required part. As the name indicates this often be done more rapidly than traditional prototyping that often requires tooling or a longer manufacturing process. Prototypes made this way are often also less costly than other prototyping methods.

Why Chose Rapid Plastic Prototyping?

The aim of rapid prototyping is the accurate, speedy manufacture of a one off product, part or component. The reasons for this are as many as the parts manufactured. Most often the reason may be a need for a 3D version of a design that has to date existed only on paper, as a computer programme or in the imagination. Rapid prototyping allows for the part to be manufactured in a range of, say, colours, finishes or even materials.

Rapid prototypes are used in pre-production, testing required functionality, user experience, durability, tactility of the finished part. Changes to the design can then be realised by further prototyping.

Rapid prototyping may be used to market test or even promote a product prior to large scale manufacture.

Do I need rapid plastic prototyping for my project?

Rapid prototyping is only one of several options available when you decide to move from design to manufacture. Whilst traditional prototyping has been viewed as more expensive or slower, rapid changes in CNC technology, machinery and processing means that this might no longer be true in every case. Additionally the relative complexity of the part/product may decide which method is most suitable.

Other methods of prototyping might enable the manufacture of a cost-effective initial short production run that might prove beneficial.

Not all plastics are suitable for rapid plastic prototyping – our team can help

Wrights Plastics have extensive experience of developing and making plastic protoypes and will provide all the help you need to successfully prototype your design. For more information email us on sales@wrightsplastics.co.uk or call us on 0121 580 3080


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