Developing new products is a huge time-taking matter for the manufacturing houses in today’s world. Lots of companies have engaged a research and development wing for their product development. It is teamwork where synchronization is highly desired. Prior to developing a product, it is required to conceive an idea or concept. The concept or idea maker has some limitations as they need to visualize their concept or idea in terms of functional models or prototypes. But to get the perfect prototype they have to depend on the designers or prototype-making companies. Earlier the prototypes are made in a manual process and later on, it was with the help of technology. The big issue was there with the rectification of errors once the prototype was produced. But, nowadays, the way of rapid prototyping technique prototypes are built with reduced risk, time, and cost factors.
Recent research and study have evolved that no organizations or manufacturing houses proceed with finished product manufacturing unless the prototypes are designed flawlessly according to the customer’s review or market review. We all know that prototypes play a vital role in today’s world as it has the power to satisfy customers. Earlier prototyping was too costly to process and it took a lot of time. But the rapid prototyping process has reduced the time with its latest technology such as CNC or Computer Numerically Controlled machines. With the help of these CNC machines, the speed of producing prototypes or functional models has increased.
As rapid prototyping is an additive technology so it has the efficiency to generate functional models of a product with the assistance of Computer Aided Designing (CAD) data by building it layer by layer. The prototypes are being manufactured with computerized processes and materials are used to build the model.
The different types of rapid prototyping are available in the market in different forms. It depends on the needs of the customers or the market. Anyone can differentiate these sorts of rapid prototyping which employs different methods as per their requirements. Here are some of the types of rapid prototypes described below.
According to this process of making prototypes with the help of UV rays harden the acrylic polymers layer by layer. The entire process was done on a moving object and will run until the desired prototype is formed. The liquid photocurable acrylic polymer was put on a VAT. Stereolithography is the form of rapid prototyping used most widely in the world for its accuracy and low turnaround time.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
The Fused Deposition Modeling is a form of commonly used rapid prototyping process which is converting CAD designs to prototypes. It belongs to Stratasys and is their trademark which was designed by the well-known S. Scott Crump. With FDM we will get one layer at a time. In this process, the liquid plastic Wax is melted and deposited on an extrusion head, and extruded through a nozzle. The nozzle is moving over a track which is guided by CAD design to produce the part. This way the single layer of the model is extruded and dropped to the next layer until the model is completed.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Sintering is the process where prototypes are manufactured with a Laser as a power source. It is an Additive Manufacturing (AM) process. In the SLS process the ceramic, plastic, and glass are fused all together by heating them with a high-power laser which will make it a solid shape, a 3D object. In SLS the CAD files are converted to dot (.)STL format that is easily understandable to the 3d printers. This process was the brainchild of Carl Deckard and Beaman, in the year 1980.
There are more types of rapid prototyping technologies are available such as Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM), Solid Base Curing (SBC), 3d Printing, Photochemical Manufacturing, and Optical fabrication.