Guide to Reducing Lead Time and Costs of Rapid Prototyping
Rapid prototyping is a process that aids us at Creatingway in turning ideas into realistic proofs of concept. We can then further advance these concepts to high-fidelity prototypes that resemble and work as the final product. It essentially provides us with a production guide through its series of validation stages toward mass production. Over the years, our top engineers and designers have been creating hardware prototypes but the materials, tools, and methods in use are at a constant state of evolution. Rapid prototyping tools such as 3D printers, allow our product development teams to create prototypes directly from CAD data. We are also able to quickly carry out rounds of testing and design revisions by working with real-world testing and feedback at a considerably lower cost than before.
Prototyping with 3D printers may sometimes be quite different from working with the traditional tools or outsourcing machines from service providers or machines. Working with us has an entirely new dynamic in terms of cost factors, design rules, and competences. In the guide below, we are offering insight into ways we optimize our 3D printing rapid prototyping workflow to achieve optimum client satisfaction. To allow us to be cost and time efficient, the guidelines we follow may range from practical design tips to choosing a technology.
Select the Appropriate Technology and Machinery For Prototypes
To find the appropriate prototyping equipment and material, we first consider the needs of our client’s prototypes. The prototypes may be for visual demonstration only or for testing the mechanical aspects of the final product. By understanding these needs we can easily choose the right technology. In the case of basic concept models, the main requirement is speed finish as the details do not necessarily matter. Look-a-like prototypes, on the other hand, may require materials and technologies that allow one to pay keen attention to detail and top-notch surface finishes. Meanwhile, for functional prototypes, there is a need for withstanding mechanical stress or particular features such as optical transparency.
Automating Post-processing For Rapid Prototyping
Post-processing is one aspect that incompetent manufacturers overlook despite it potentially being time-consuming when prototyping through 3D printing. Some technologies need a substantially lower post-processing duration, but all 3D printed parts need some degree of post-processing. We sometimes automate post-processing procedures to save on labor, translating to favorable client quotations.
Assembling Large Parts From Multiple Prints
3D printing large components is often a lengthy and costly process. Outsourcing your project to us is an option you should consider. We efficiently carry out the project by splitting the model into several smaller parts. This is an excellent way of creating objects that may be larger than what fits into the standard 3d printer. Our experts may add some features to the design to enable better alignment of the prints. Alternatively, they may split the parts using straight cuts which basically requires us to align them during the fastening stage.
There Are Two Different Bonded Joints Types For Rapid Prototyping
The level of strength of the bonded joints determines the type of bonding method that we use. The methods are namely,
- Chemical Fastening; where we use a bonding agent for scale models, art and complex shapes to essentially sustain impact and not for functional use.
- Mechanical Fastening; where we add pockets of a screw thread to functional engineering components that need a significant mechanical connection to may require repeated attachment or detachment of parts.
Making Hollow Parts.
3D printers have a default setting of printing fully dense parts. When not making functional parts that need a certain degree of strength, we often opt to hollow out the large and bulky. The technique enables us to save on the quantity of printing material and printing duration. Our clients would be able to achieve a similar satisfaction when they receive fully dense prototypes.
Adjustment of Layer Height.
A great way of reducing printing time is by adjusting the layer height. For example, on SLA systems, the difference is often barely noticeable between parts we print with 50- and 100-micron layers but printing time is reduced by 50%.
Eliminating or Reducing Support Structures.
Poorly oriented parts often result in excessive supportive structures. These structures take up more material, printing time, and result in a longer post-processing duration. Our team of experts has come up with several ways of printing prototypes while limiting or eliminating the support structures. We are able to achieve stable product after extensive experimentation with different component orientation. We carry out an assessment of how different setups influence the overall print time and material usage prior to printing. Some technologies are more ideally applicable to your designs than others. SLA printers allow us to easily breakaway support requirements through smart software. SLS machines on the other hand already use the powder as support for the component.
The above guideline offers extensive insight and attests to why Creatingway is the ideal rapid prototyping company for you. For any further inquiries, contact us now.
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