3D Printing Prototypes
By Laura Russart
, Jul 20th, 2021
Technologies for Any Size Model
From the smallest products to full-scale industrial models, Fathom let’s you take advantage of a full spectrum of in-house additive manufacturing technologies to build conceptual models. This allows for visualization and fully functional demonstration models. We treat large models as we do large prototypes—they need to measure up to the same rigor and abuse as real-world parts do—and sometimes more. Numerous materials are possible for model-making, large prototypes and 3D printing prototypes. The experts at Fathom can tailor models to specific needs, time constraints and budgets.
Fathom 3D Printing Prototype Services Include / /
Industries & Types of Models Fathom Works With / /
- Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)
- Exhibition Models
- Trade Shows
- Military Equipment
What is a 3D Printing Prototype?
A 3D printed prototype is a physical representation of an idea – a sample or simulation—that will allows engineers to demonstrate and test the intention behind a design before investing time and money into production. 3D prototyping is far more cost-effective as it allows the discovery of any design issues early in the product development process. Gather valuable feedback before production through the use of 3D printed prototyping.
3D printing or additive manufacturing, is a production method in which material is applied in layers until the desired shape is formed. Popular 3D printing processes include Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA). 3D printing is useful for rapid prototyping because it allows the designer to make quick changes without needing to create new, expensive molds. There are three primary reasons your business may need a 3D prototype.
Purpose of a 3D Printing Prototype
Here are a few reasons to consider prototypes / /
- Consumer Review / / Having a physical product in your customers’ hands will allow your team to gather feedback and test functionality.
- Proof of Concept / / Having a physical product for each design iteration can provide valuable part functionality insights.
- Manufacturing Prep / / Use a prototype to test and edit the product design before investing in tooling and large-scale production.
Types of 3D Printing Prototypes
There are many different kinds of prototypes and depending on what stage your project is in the product development process will determine which type of prototype will work best.
- Visual Prototype / / A visual prototype can illustrate a product’s color, size and geometric features, but not the texture, feel or weight of a product. Visual prototypes are primarily used in marketing.
- Working Prototype / / A physical prototype allows a brand to test a finished product’s functionality, but does not have the same appearance as a finalized product. The purpose of the physical prototype is to determine if the final product will serve its purpose or if any design changes need to be made to improve it.
- User Experience Prototype / / A user experience prototype has the same appearance and functionality as a final product. It can be presented to the end-user for research and allows for consumer testing to determine if a product is user-friendly and provides customer satisfaction. Customers can interact with the prototype, allowing valuable data to be gathered. There may still be opportunities for improvement made possible by the user experience prototype.
- Functional Prototype / / A functional prototype has the same appearance and full functionality as the final product. It may be made using different materials and/or manufacturing methods than the final product. It can be used to gain funding for mass production or for licensing.
Benefits of Prototypes
The benefits of having a prototype can range from answering design questions to seeing how the customer interacts with your design. Additional benefits of having a prototype include / /
- Test Durability & Fit
- Collect Customer Feedback & Identify Opportunities
- Test Final Function & Design
- Discover Design Problems Early
- Determine Which Manufacturing Process Will Work Best
- Estimate Production Costs
- Save Money & Time
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing allows you to create multiple versions of your product within a relatively short amount of time. Adjustments can be made in the 3D modeling software and then quickly printed. Depending on project specs, parts can be produced in as soon as same day. Submit your project quote today to get started.
Why Choose Fathom to Make Your Prototype?
- Comprehensive Prototyping Services
- State-of-the-Art Equipment & Technology
- Prototype Experience for High-Tech Industries
- Customer-Based Approach
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