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8 Things You Didn’t Know About Rapid Prototyping

Posted by Evan Freemon on April 16, 2018 | Updated on April 23, 2018

Rapid prototyping is quickly becoming the new way to do product development. You probably already know how this process saves on cost and time, and ultimately results in a higher quality product. But did you know…

  1. Rapid prototyping isn’t new. The first RPT technology was tested in the 1980s as a solution to the lengthy product development process. Back then, tooling processes took about six to eight weeks. Albeit a rudimentary version of what we know today as 3D printing, the invention gave way to one of the most revolutionary technologies of our time.
  2. The first object ever created using rapid prototyping technology was a tiny cup. It’s not exactly the most exciting debut, but today there’s no limit to what we can create using rapid prototyping.

  3. Rapid prototyping is also known as desktop manufacturing. Why? Because of its quick use of computer technology to turn desktop designs into functional 3D objects.

  4. There’s more than one way to do rapid prototyping. Some of the most common processes include:

      • 3D Printing: a process that creates 3D objects by printing multiple layers of material-based ink. Materials include plastic, steel, glass and more.
      • Laser Sintering: uses high-power laser to fuse tiny particles of plastic or metal (metal powders and thermoplastics) into an object that represents the design.
      • Rapid Freeze Prototyping: RFPT produces 3D objects by rapidly freezing layers of water. This approach is used in highly specific situations for validating visual details or creating silicone molding.

5. RPT technology is less expensive and better for the environment. Many RPT service providers use locally sourced and recycled materials in place of costly imports. This cuts down on packaging and shipping (two industries with dramatic environmental impacts). Rapid prototyping also significantly reduces material waste, which benefits our environment and your bottom line.

6. Rapid prototyping isn’t just for enterprise companies. When this technology was brand new, it was too expensive for just anyone to use. Even today, it doesn’t make sense for many businesses to invest in their own system, but it is more commercially available and accessible to small and medium businesses through service providers like iCONN Systems.

7. Rapid prototyping has had a dramatic impact on reducing cycle times. If a small house can be printed in 24 hours, just imagine how quickly product components can be created. Those who implement rapid prototyping as a standard part of their development process are getting products to market faster, reducing the cost of development and (by default) making products more affordable for customers.

8. The RPT industry is expected to surge well into 2023. In fact, the 3D printing industry will be worth an estimated $32.78 billion by 2023. This is an indication that rapid prototyping isn’t a short-term trend; it’s poised to become the industry standard.

Interesting stuff, right? But what is most attractive to development teams and manufacturers is how rapid prototyping reduces risk and creates greater freedom to innovate. Incredible inventions lie in wait, and RPT technology is one of the many advancements that will help developers change the world. Could your next project benefit from rapid prototyping with iCONN? Learn how we were able to achieve success with a client by using rapid prototyping.

Rapid Prototyping Case Study

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