Getting into the depth of rapid prototyping

More and more companies use rapid prototyping in order to evaluate designs, especially when it comes to items that are extremely difficult to machine. The challenge that product designer face is the inability to make customers realize how the product will actually look and feel. The only way to realize the real potential of the product is by adopting rapid prototyping that offers higher fidelity than conventional paper drawings. While rapid prototyping Ottawa is only one of the many processes used to build mechanical parts, it is by far the most effective one. The technology is so accurate that it is now used in areas of medicine as well since they allow doctors to visualize surgical plans and customized implants.

Explaining how the process works

Rapid prototyping is a three-step process that includes prototyping, reviewing and refining. In the first phase, the description of the user is transformed into mock-ups taking into consideration user experience and best practices. It all begins with a little file called STL that is manipulated by a 3-D drafting program. The process is defined as an additive one, meaning that the object is built by joining particles or layers of the raw materials together. Construction of the part or the assembly is performed using a 3-D printing program. Once the part is ready, the exemplar is shared with the users and the functioning of the part is evaluated. Depending on the feedback, areas are either refined or clarified.

What and when to prototype

Virtually anything can be prototyped, meaning that the process can be applied to any domain. Although prototyping typically involves physical products, people have the possibility to prototype services and even business models. The model is not intended to evolve into a functional solution, but rather to provide users with product experience and this is why it is important to decide the key issued from the beginning. The process is also useful for departing from the competition. As a general rule, companies need to know only 20% of the functionality, meaning that it is not necessary to draft the entire product.

Benefits of prototypes

Rather than assuming the product will work using CAD technology, designers can gain a better understanding of the product and implement adjustments prior to finalization. The physical model allows the designer get immediate feedback from the customer and identify the actual need of the market. Thanks to additive manufacturing, there is no more need to develop molds and no waste is produced. In addition to this, the designer is able to identify potential flaws and strengthen the product so that it will perform physical tests easily.