One of the crucial early steps in the invention process is to create a prototype – a simple defined prototype is a 3D version of your vision. Creating a prototype is also one of the most interesting and rewarding steps you will take in the rapid manufacturing industry. This is because developing prototypes gives you the opportunity to truly tap into your creativity and use the skills that inspire your creative ideas. Whether you’re making prototypes hiring engineers who provide prototype service or machinists, it’s really exciting to see your ideas turn into tangible and real things.
Advantages of Creating a Prototype
- It enables you to test and optimize the functionality of your design
Of course, your ideas are theoretically perfect. Until you start to actually create it, you will encounter the flaws in your thoughts. This is another important reason why developing prototypes is the ability to test your ideas. You will never know design issues and challenges until you start to turn ideas into reality.
- It can test the performance of various materials.
For example, your heart may use metal – until you test it and realize that plastic performs better at a lower cost in your specific application. The prototype phase will help you determine the best material.
- It can help you and your team describe your product more effectively
A real prototype will help you to show your marketing experts, engineers and potential business partners directly.
- It encourages others to take you more seriously.
When you arrive with a prototype to reach any professional (from your own lawyer to a potential licensing company), you separate yourself from others who are just vaguely close to them. Instead, you will be seen as a professional with a purpose, not just an inventor with a potentially good idea. That’s why quick prototyping is so important for your business.
What is prototype service?
Prototype service involves specialized fabricating techniques for producing high quality physical models of 3D design concepts. Prototypes are very useful for design improvements and can be used as a stepping stone for full production or engineering testing. They mean fast and economical, without the need to invest in hard molds. Many of our customers need to quickly produce physical parts to validate designs or get short-term sales opportunities.
Main prototype services:
1. CNC Machining
CNC machining is a method of machining parts with CNC machine tools. CNC machine tool processing is similar to ordinary machine tool processing in terms of method and content, but the control method of the machining process is quite different. Thus, it has been widely applied in plastic machining.
Taking small and medium-sized parts in mechanical processing as an example, processing on ordinary machine tools, in terms of a certain process, the arrangement of the work steps, the order of machine movement, the feed route and the selection of relevant cutting parameters and so on, although there are process documents, However, the operation is often considered and determined by the operator, and it is a manual way to control.
When machining on a CNC machine, the digital information of the contents and actions that the operator needs to consider and decide on the ordinary machine tool is input to the numerical control device of the CNC machine tool, and the input information is calculated and controlled, and continuously to the servo mechanism. The electromechanical function conversion component that makes the machine tool realize the machining movement sends the pulse signal, the servo mechanism converts and amplifies the pulse signal, and then the drive mechanism drives the machine tool to move according to the programmed program, and the parts we need can be processed.
CNC rapid prototyping is ideal for making plastic prototypes and metal prototypes without the need to invest in expensive tools, the machined parts- especially for CNC aluminum parts will achieve tighter tolerances and better surface finish than other prototyping methods.
2. Vacuum Casting
We put the original master pattern of CNC or 3D printing, SLA, SLS processing into the center of simple mold, and then pour liquid silicone into it. The silicone mold is divided into two parts with a sharp blade. The master pattern is removed from the cured silicone mold, and the cavity is the same as the master pattern. After that, the liquid compound material is injected into the mold, and the material is solidified in the mold to form the same product as the master pattern.
Polyurethane vacuum casting molds create up to 30 high-fidelity copies from the original master mode. Parts can be molded from a variety of resins, including engineering grade plastics, and can even be overmolded with a variety of materials
3. 3D Printing
In recent years, with the rapid development of 3D printing technology, the application in the fields of aerospace, biomedicine, automobile and construction has gradually broadened, and its advantages have been continuously revealed, which has caused widespread concern. As the most advanced and promising technology in the entire 3D printing system, metal 3D printing technology is an important development direction of advanced manufacturing technology.
There are three main types of metal 3D printing technology: laser selective melting technology (SLM), electron beam selective zone melting forming technology (SEBM) and laser near net forming technology. Metal 3D printing is ideal for making complex shapes that combine lightweight and high strength. Since the materials of the three printing methods are all metal powders, the manufacturing cost is high, the surface quality of the formed parts is poor, and the printing speed is slow. In order to enable metal 3D printing technology to be industrialized in the manufacturing field, new breakthroughs must be made in the printing process and printing materials.
4. SLA & SLS
SLA technology: The laser is used to focus on the surface of the light curing material, from point to line, from line to surface, and then repeats, so that the layers are superimposed to form a three-dimensional entity. It’s ideal for making high accuracy demanding and complex shaped components.
SLS technology: It is very similar to the SLA technology in that it replaces the liquid photopolymer with a powdered material, and acts on the powder material at a certain scanning speed and energy. It is suitable for the manufacture of prototypes and functional parts. During the forming process, the laser working parameters as well as the characteristics of the powder and the sintering atmosphere are important parameters that affect the quality of the sintering.
One of the questions the inventors need to face is how to make a prototype. The best way is to find a rapid prototype machining company that fit your budget. At WayKen, we specialize in providing you with high- quality, reasonable-cost prototypes. With a range of technologies and services, we are expert providing a one-stop shop from prototype to production. Any supports needed, send us your 3D design file for a free quote, we will offer you the economic prototyping solutions.