Prior to a part being mass produced, a prototype is created. This involves one part being made according to specifications and then analyzed and tested to make sure it meets or exceeds customer demand, as well as company and industry standards. If an error is discovered such as wrong dimension or defect, a second prototype is made until perfection is achieved.

Superiority of 3D Printed Prototypes

Today, the most popular way to achieve success the first time is with 3D printed prototypes. Compared to conventional methods of making prototypes, this is more precise.

  • Customization – One reason that 3D printed prototypes are the better choice has to do with customization. With this, mass customization is possible whereby products can be personalized according to the customer’s specifications. Even in the same build chamber, numerous products can be manufactured according to requirements and at no additional cost of processing.
  • Complexity – When it comes to traditional methods of creating prototypes some products are extremely complex. However, a designer can use 3D printing to create an intricate part for manufacturing. For industrial applications, complex 3D printed prototypes lead to finished products that are lighter in weight yet stronger than predecessors.
  • No Tools Needed – Prior to this new technology, manufacturing companies would commonly build tools to handle low to medium volume applications, which in many instances has been eliminated. Using 3D printed prototypes, lead time improves, costs are reduced, and labor needs are less for developing and manufacturing exceptional parts.
  • Assembly – There is also cost savings with 3D printed prototypes for assembly requirements specific to detailed geometry and intricate features. In this case, the cost, as well as labor for the assembly process is significantly reduced.
  • Environmentally-Friendly and Sustainable – In terms of the manufacturing process, 3D printed prototypes are a more energy efficient technology, which equates to less impact on the planet. With this technology, as much as 90% of standard materials are used, which means less waste. However, with less waste throughout the life of the finished product also reduces the carbon footprint when compared to products manufactured in a more conventional manner.
  • Flexibility – Because 3D printed prototypes can be produced virtually anywhere, there is more flexibility and less need for large workshops and inventories. For fulfilling a local manufacturing model, this is by far a superior option.