The process of promoting a new product is always stressful. But the process of preparing that particular product is even more tedious and tiresome. This is because a certain engineering product goes through a lot of changes before it reaches the market.
From designing to testing, all the engineers focus on making that product the best on the market. There is fierce competition these days, mostly because of the innovations that take place every day. That is why every single step of the designing and testing process is crucial for a successful outcome.
Engineers think of many things when designing something like cost, purpose, quantity, quality, and the complexity of the design. Most of them give up on something innovative and out of the box because they are afraid it would cost too much only to test it.
Although this was truly the case a couple of years ago, today, things are a little bit easier due to an amazing new technology called rapid prototyping. This technology is a process where a certain company could make a smaller version of its newest product to test its abilities.
Evaluation of the product is a very important step to completing a successful project. The preliminary version could be made with this new technology to help the team of engineers to analyze it and see how their design acts in real life without spending a fortune.
This innovative technology called rapid prototyping has helped engineers test their designs in any part of the development process. This means that whenever you like to assess your design and have questions about how it works, you could make a prototype of it in no time. Click on the link for more detailed information https://engineeringproductdesign.com/knowledge-base/rapid-prototyping-techniques/.
History of rapid prototyping
The lack of machines and innovative technology made it far harder for engineers in the past to build products the way we do today. A simple example is the circuit boards, which initially were made by hand, and everything was connected individually. This type of work demands a great deal of attention and time.
This means that the production was limited and therefore the profit of a certain company. In the 1970s, the beginning of a new revolutionary technology started to grow. This new technology evolved into what we know today as rapid prototyping.
In the beginning, two engineers who wanted to increase their production of circuit boards decided to invent an automated machine that could replace the traditional way of making these boards. This was, of course, an uncommercialized machine at the beginning, mostly because of the cost.
Soon, this technology started to spread across the globe and helped to improve production in every field. This was a huge thing back then because it increased the efficiency of every single process on the planet Earth.
Depending on the needs of certain production, rapid prototyping soon has been divided into four different subcategories. So, the question is, which are these subcategories, and what purpose do they serve?
Rapid Application Building
As time goes by, this method is more and more used by engineers. The Rapid Application Building method is also known as the Software Rapid Application Development. It is used for developing software.
The software users have different requirements, and with the fast improvement in this field, they expect new and better things frequently. With these methods, engineers can improve the software based on the interface wishes of users.
The best thing is that many engineers struggle to solve the complex problems or spend too much time could be solved with this method. There is a saying that says “time is money,” which is true when it comes to the competitive market. So, the sooner a company fixes a problem, the cheaper it will cost them.
Fused Deposition Modeling
This process, method, of prototyping has an interesting flow of building shapes. The machine is designed with several important parts. The build-platform and the precision of the nozzle are among the most important ones. To most, this method can be familiar with the name Additive Manufacturing.
This process is happening when a melted plastic that was heated in the beginning passes through the extrusion nozzle. The melted plastic is laid down on the platform mentioned above, and there it cools to become solid.
Depending on the shape, the nozzle extrudes as many layers as needed to complete a certain design. The machine works by a sketch, design made in CAD, or other similar software. This process can be overlooked by an engineer in case something needs to be changed. The flexibility of this method is of great value when it comes to complex designs.
Selective Laser Sintering
This is the third method, which uses very different techniques for prototyping comparing to the last two. This is the method that has proven to be mostly used by customers because of its great benefits. The method involves a laser that has high power.
Moving through a thermoplastic powder as a surface, these laser cross-sections make layers accordingly. Just like the Fused Deposition Methods, as soon as a layer is finished, the process goes on to another layer and so on until the design in CAD has become a 3D shape. You can get a same-day free quote at a quick turn machine shop by sending only your CAD model.
The method of Stereolithography is similar to the Selective Laser Sintering because it also uses a laser. This UV laser draws an image but instead of a thermoplastic powder, as a surface is used liquid plastic.
The computer is used as a controller for the process and the CAD design as a guide. The process is repeated for as long as it takes to finish the shape. The plastic is hardened by the hit of the laser, which helps in the solidifying process. The lowering of the object takes place after every layered is finished so that the laser could complete the next one.