Over the years, the requirement for 3D printed prototypes has increased dramatically, especially in manufacturing. 3D printing has become the fastest and most accurate way of bringing your design to life and seeing a physical representation of it.
Almost anything can be 3D printed, there are fewer restrictions to what can be printed compared to traditional methods of producing prototypes. These days’ designers have more freedom to create complex parts as 3D printed components are produced one layer at a time.
Since the 1980’s, technology in additive manufacturing has advanced and has become an essential part of the product design phase in almost every industry, although there is a large range of 3D printing technologies offering different advantages and benefits, we’ve put together 6 advantages of rapid prototyping for product design.
1. Physical model of your design idea
3D printing enables designers to gain a real feel and understanding of their product over traditional methods of relying on a computerised 3D model. For product designers and their clients, managers or whoever else needs to see the design, having the ability to see the design concept in a physical form, fast, is a fantastic benefit of having a 3D printed prototype.
2. Eliminates design flaws
Having the ability to eliminate design flaws before your idea goes into production is a huge benefit. Imagine not being able to make those tweaks and changes before your product goes into the manufacturing process, your samples could end up costing thousands to correct the smallest of mistakes. 3D printing allows you to look at your design and pick apart the pieces. It helps to recognise any errors and enables you to quickly make changes to those parts of the design ready to be reprinted.
3. Accurate representation
3D printers have and will always amaze people, this state of the art technology can produce the highest of quality results from tiny 3D printed objects to large scale prints. 3D printers are able to recreate your drawing layer by layer accurately and precisely. Being able to control resolution and tolerances means you are able to produce a model to the highest quality & standards, fast! Having a realistic three-dimensional scaled model enables designers to quickly gain feedback on their concept and move their project forward.
4. Ability to make instant changes
You no longer have to rely on an expensive sample of your product being produced or solely on your CAD drawing to present your idea to others. 3D printing allows you to notice any mistakes in the design physically or technically and make changes to your CAD file ready to be re printed within a matter of minutes. This makes the whole design phase quicker and more cost effective.
5. Costs less
Traditional methods of producing a sample of your design is costly. Now you no longer have to rely on an expensive sample, 3D printing and rapid prototyping has become the most cost effective way to see if your design works. No special tools are required and it takes seconds to set up. No materials are wasted as rapid prototyping only uses materials that are required and the costs of labour are heavily reduced compared to traditional sample methods, making it a more efficient way to see your product design in a realistic form.
3D printing allows you to print the concept the same day it was designed, minimalizing the development process which would usually of been months. Designs and parts can be produced within a few hours meaning you can verify your design ideas faster than before. This offers product designers huge time savings in their design phase compared to traditional manufacturing techniques. You could have your design printed, adjusted and finalised inside a week as opposed to older methods taking months to get the design right and finalised.
There are many benefits to having a rapid prototype produced and with technology advancing, 3D printing capabilities are endless. Reducing the amount of time being spent in the design phase enables companies to move their project forward faster, giving them a completive advantage by bringing products to the market quicker than before.
How we can help
If you have a design idea and would like to see a sample of your concept, check out our page here where you can upload your design and request a free 3D printed prototype.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a sketch or a professional drawing, we’re confident we can produce a high-quality representation of your design.
Should you need any assistance with your design, our team of experts can help you verify and finalise your design giving you piece of mind that you’re in the right hands.
Check out our page here for design advice or contact one of our experts here.