November 29th, 2017
Introduction to 3D Prototyping
Although new technology has dramatically changed manufacturing processes over the years, one of the most substantial changes is with 3D prototyping. Compared to more conventional methods used to make prototypes of parts, 3D offers a long list of benefits.
With 3D prototyping there is significant cost savings. This technology is extremely precise so even the most complex part can be prototyped correctly the first time. If there are modifications required, it takes little time and less labor, which equates to cost savings.
Learning about 3D Prototyping
Also referred to as rapid prototyping, this entails an assembly or physical part being fabricated to scale using a three dimensional Computer Aided Design or CAD data. Typically, construction of the assembly or part is completed with 3D printing or “additive layer manufacturing.
Although 3D prototyping has been around for many years, it has changed dramatically thanks to technological advances. Today, this type of prototyping is the most popular but also most effective means of creating prototypes for manufacturing of high quality parts.
Although 3D prototyping is used for large parts manufacturing volume, it is also efficient for small runs and without unfavorable economics. In other words, regardless if a customer orders 10 parts opposed to 10,000, 3D prototyping offers the same cost-efficiency for creating the prototype.
For most projects, the customer submits an idea which is then designed or actual specifications for the development of the part. In either case, geometric data must be created as 2D slices for a scanning device or as 3D solid for CAD. As part of this, data needs a valid geometric model. For each point in the 3D space, the computer has the ability to determine if the point is on the inside, on, or outside the model’s boundary surface.
Once the ordered part has been developed, it undergoes extensive testing and analysis. If the part meets or exceeds specifications, the correct number of finished parts is manufactured. Again, if changes are required, it takes little time and effort. With 3D prototyping being a more superior option compared to traditional prototyping methods, a multiple of industries depend on it. Used aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, appliance, or many other industries, the outcome is finished parts of exceptional value.