Rapid Prototyping Services
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Proto3000 Offers rapid prototyping services using a variety of technologies depending on our clients needs. You are able to upload your CAD file directly on our website so our engineers can recommend the most relevant technology.
What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is the automatic construction of physical objects using solid freeform fabrication or additive manufacturing technology. This technology is widely used in product development and manufacturing processes. Additive manufacturing begins with a virtual design from a CAD (computer aided design) or animation modeling software. Through software applications you are able to manipulate the design and create successive layers until the model is fully rendered. There is very little deviation from the virtual model, and its soon to be physical counterpart. The next step in the process involves a rapid prototyping machine. Additive manufacturing technology will permit the rapid prototyping machine to use the CAD data in a reconstruction process. Using the physical contraints set by the software, the prototyping machine lays down layers of liquid, powder, or sheet material in a series of cross sections, to build up the model. These cross sections correspond to the ones in the CAD data, and together will form the prototype exactly the way it was designed on the screen. The advantage to additive fabrication is the ability to create almost any shape or geometric feature, meaning the only limitations you have, exist in your mind.
Types of Rapid Prototyping Technologies:
Polyjet Matrix Printing : The first technology that allows for the simultaneous layering of multiple types of model materials. Polyjet printing uses a range of UV acrlyic based polymers to form high resolution layers down to 16 Microns. This extremely accurate technology leaves you with a part requiring minimal finishing. Arguably one of the best technologies for most rapid prototyping needs, the wide array of materials allows for flexible, interactive parts closest to the finished product. The materials are fully cured and office friendly, making it possible to have a 3D Printing station right on your desk. Two different photopolymer materials are used for building, one the support material, and the other the actual model resin. The geometry of the support material is preprogrammed by the CAD software, and allows for cavities, thin walled sections, and moveable parts. The product of the rapid prototyping system is then placed in a waterjet machine to remove any remaining support material, leaving you with your polished prototype.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) : This additive manufacturing technology, like most others, begins with an STL file from a CAD software. This rapid prototyping machine dispenses two materials, one for support, and the other for the model. Thermoplastics are heated to a liquid state and depposited based on the path defined by the CAD file. The model is built from its base upwards with each layer of material being added onto the next. This form of rapid prototyping also allows for different materials to be used, although they cannot be combined.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) : This additive manufacturing technique incorporates the use of a high powered laser. The laser fuses small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic or glass powders into a 3-dimensional mass. Selective laser sintering machines use a CAD file to generate the properties of the object, then selectively fuse the powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated by the CAD data. After each section is scanned the bed of the machine is lowered to apply the next layer. This method of additive manufacturing allows for a wide range of materials as well. Polymers such as nylon, polystrene, steel, titanium, and alloy mixtures can all be used to create the prototype.
Stereolithography (SLA) : Slimilar to polyjet matrix printing, stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process that using the combination of resin and a UV laser to build prototypes one layer at a time. The CAD model provides the data for the laser to trace each cross section on the surface of the liquid resin. The UV laser then heats the resin to a solidifying state, fusing it with the layer beneath. After a layer has been completed, the build tray platform descends so a new layer of resin can be applied. After the build has been completed, the part is then immersed in a chemical bath to remove any excess resin. The final step in the stereolithography process is for the part to be cured in a UV oven.
Why do I need Rapid Prototyping Services?
In the product development cycle their is little room for error. Prototyping allows for catching any imperfections in a product prior to it reaching the market. The benefits of assets invested in research and development far outwiegh the potential losses in recalls or defects. Even a simple idea can begin to take form with rapid prototyping. Everyone has the ability to improve the world around them, whether they have a simple idea that is blossoming in their mind, or a full fledged product waiting to be developed. rapid prototyping helps you to take that process to the next level. Being able to hold your concept in your hands, with moving parts leaves for exponential analysis to be performed, ensuring that when your product does reach the market, it is customer friendly and impactful.
Quite often the training needed, and the costs associated, with an in-house rapid prototyping machine cannot be justified unless volume exists. At Proto3000, our engineering staff are able to deliver prototypes suited to their customers needs, with their expertise and skills being utilized. Economically, for single product development, rapid prototyping services are much more effective. Having trained professionals at your disposal can be much more beneficial then having to go through the training process. Our engineering support staff are highly educated with years of experience, and always deliver in a time sensetive manor.
Rapid prototyping really knows no bounds, there is a wide range of RP (Rapid Prototyping) applications including:
If you are ready to begin the prototyping process today, give us a call, and if not, call us anyways so we can offer our assistance in design and development.