Guide to Rapid Prototyping for Product Designing Process
Product designers rely on rapid prototyping for product designing during the development phases. They make proof-of-concept models with the help of basic tools. The eventual goal, however, is to make functional prototypes. These prototypes can late be mass-made into quality parts. This step often needs processes similar to those that make quality parts. Methods like injection molding are great in making ready-to-go prototypes. However, the method is costly in setting up tools. Hence, when you intend to make low volume, custom prototypes, the entire process becomes expensive.
Rapid prototyping steps in as a great option to create a real proof of concept parts. Companies can effectively turn their ideas into realities. This possibility you can get at a much lower cost. Also, the prototypes made have high fidelity, sharing the look and function similar to a final product. Designers and engineers can even make prototypes directly from CAD files. This option allows quick editing and revision when needed after real-world testing results. The guide highlights the role of rapid prototyping for product designing, types of prototypes in product design, and their applications.
Understand The Rapid Prototyping To Product Designing Process
Rapid prototyping is a group of methods that quickly make scale models using 3D CAD files. The parts made come from additive technology. Thus, rapid prototyping is under the additive manufacturing and 3D printing group. However, other methods use subtractive methods like CNC to make parts.
Rapid prototyping allows a lot of freedom in producing parts. Since you don’t need tools. Therefore, we can make parts that mimic other methods.
Types of Prototypes in Product Designs
At Creatingway, we arrange prototypes based on their range of accuracy. This concept is known as fidelity. It decides the product development stage of any prototype we make. The prototypes made don’t have to look like the final product. However, this choice varies based on what the product designer intends to achieve. Fidelity differs from a basic low to high fidelity prototype. The factors that decide the level are look, size, user interface, and the prototype’s functionality.
- High fidelity prototype. These prototypes have functionality and look levels similar to that of the final intended final product.
- Low fidelity prototypes. These prototypes are simple and quick to make. The main role is for testing out a broad idea. For instance, paper sketches or cardboard mock-ups.
Stages of New Product Development
- Proof of concept prototypes
- Presentation model prototypes
- Functional prototypes
- Aesthetic design prototypes
- Final factory sample
- Alpha & beta build prototypes
Advantages of Rapid Prototyping in Product Designing Process
Quicker Realization and Exploration of Concepts
Rapid Prototyping allows a designer to transform ideas into low-risk physical concepts. The prototypes made looks and feel similar to that of a real product. Thus, designers can go beyond virtual visualization to more material things. This ability allows you to have an easier insight into the idea. Mainly through the look and feel of the design. You can even put concepts made side by side. Also, the feature allows for a more subjective comparison.
Effective Communication of Ideas
When you have a physical model of your idea, you are more likely to share it. Potential clients and colleagues can better know your concept. This benefit differs from only having visual designs on the screen. Thus, physical prototypes allow for a clearer and actionable user feedback experience. You’ll do less explaining as the part will be physically touched and felt by your audience.
Allows Iterative Designs and Instant Changes
Product designing is an iterative process that needs several testing rounds to get a final product. Between the rounds, you’ll have to evaluate and refine your concept multiple times. Remember, the goal is a perfect outcome.
Rapid prototyping allows a flexible approach to making realistic prototypes. Also, you can implement any new changes faster, thus boosting the effectiveness of this trial and error approach in product designing. Most good prototype models go through a 24-hour design cycle. The five-step cycle involves:
- Design part during work
- 3D print prototype part overnight
- Clean and test part the following day
- Adjust part design
- Repeat process
- Saves Time and Cost
Rapid prototyping doesn’t need the costly process of setting up tools. We can use the same tools in other processes that are more demanding. Also, the lead time is shorter due to no use of any premade tool. It’s simply sending CAD files for the process to begin.
Allows Thorough Testing to Lower Design Flaws
Rapid prototyping for product designing allows for quick finding and fixing of flaws. Thus, when done early during the product design stages, it helps lower costly future revisions. Also, designs engineers can also thoroughly test prototypes for a hitch-free making stage.
Applications of Rapid Prototyping
- Proof-of-Concept (POC) Prototypes. These prototypes help designers validate an idea or assumption. They test out the product’s viability to stakeholders. Then a discussion develops. The aim is to create product acceptance or rejection using the low-risk concept.
- Look-Like Prototypes. These prototypes bear a form of similarity to that of the final product. But, they mostly lack some functional aspects. Their main role is to give a better idea of what will the final product look like.
Contact Creatingway now to get your products designed through rapid prototyping.
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