Technologies for Any Size Model
Fathom offers a full-spectrum of in-house additive manufacturing technologies for building large prototypes and industrial models. Our comprehensive capabilities allow for visualization and fully functional demonstration models. We view large models the same as large prototypes. These builds will be fully functional and be able to withstand any abuse the production part will face. Our full slate of manufacturing capabilities gives customers a wide variety of building techniques and material options. There are numerous ways to create aesthetic, functional models, and large prototypes. Fathom can tailor models or prototype large plastic parts to your specific needs, time constraints, and budget.
Industries and Types of Models We Work With //
- Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)
- Photo-Ready Consumer Products
- Exhibition Models
- Trade Shows
- Military Equipment
Start a conversation today! Consult a Fathom expert to discuss your need for large prototypes or model making.
Types of 3D Printing Large Prototypes
There are many different kinds of prototypes, and depending on the stage of your project, the product development process will determine which type of prototype will work best.
Visual Prototype // A visual prototype can illustrate product color, size, and geometric features, but may not include the desired texture, feel, or weight. Visual prototypes are primarily used for photography needs to create marketing assets.
Working Prototype // A physical prototype allows a designers to test product functionality. Working prototypes may not have the same appearance as a finalized product. The purpose of the physical prototype is to determine if the final product will withstand the rigors of its intended use. Further design changes may be required after testing.
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. This will help designers 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 or manufacturing methods than the final product. Functional prototypes are ideal for fund raising or for licensing.
Before the advent of additive manufacturing, prototyping was lengthy and involved process that required multiple variations, often forcing designers and engineers to start over in order to correct design flaws. Prototyping strategies were used to reduce time and cost while producing the best possible design. The three major prototype strategies are Iterative, Parallel, and Rapid.
Iterative Prototyping // Iterative Prototyping starts with a single version of the part. The part is tested, the design is refined, and the old design is scrapped in favor of a new iteration. The process then starts over with the new part design. This prototyping strategy could be time consuming depending on the complexity of the project and the required design changes. Traditional manufacturing techniques would then add to the required turn around time each time the process started over. Iterative prototyping is now an economical choice thanks to the speed and lowered cost of 3D printing.
Parallel Prototyping // Parallel Prototyping is a strategy designed to reduce turnaround time by building multiple different prototypes and testing them concurrently. Qualities that work best on each prototype are then forwarded to the next set of parallel designs until a final version is reached. Parallel prototyping allows for greater creativity by giving designers the opportunity to explore design possibilities across multiple iterations. This strategy can be more expensive as it requires multiple sets of differing prototypes. 3D printing allows designers and engineers to employ parallel prototyping without much worry over cost or time. Major or minor design changes can be made as each successive prototype is printed, simply by making changes to the digital file.
Rapid Prototyping // Rapid Prototyping leverages the speed and agility of digital manufacturing. The design process, to prototyping, to production can all be controlled and manipulated digitally. Designers mock up a digital version of the part with Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. The CAD file is then sent to the 3D printer. Digital manufacturing breaks down many of the barriers of conventional prototyping. Part production can be done anywhere the 3D printing machine is available, whether that is in-house or half way around the world. Design changes can be made immediately and then parts can be reprinted in hours instead of days and weeks. Rapid Prototyping even allows designers to use Iterative or Parallel strategies without the time and cost constraints associated with traditional manufacturing. Rapid prototyping is especially useful for large prototypes. Oversized models and large prototypes can be built quickly and efficiently with additive manufacturing, reducing cost and speeding time to market.
Why Choose Fathom to Make Your Prototype?
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