- Accelerate Your New Product Development
- Iterate Product Designs Quickly & Affordably
- Fix Design Flaws Before Production with Fathom Experts
Rapid Prototyping Services
Refine your part designs quickly with our fast-turn manufacturing capabilities
Are you looking for ways to accelerate your new product development process? Has it been challenging to find a manufacturing partner that can provide not only the equipment but the design and engineering expertise to help you bring your ideas to market faster? Fathom can help you iterate your part designs quickly and accelerate your new product development.
vs. Conventional Prototyping
In the past, product designers and engineers were often limited to creating makeshift prototype parts that weren’t necessarily accurate in form, fit or functionality. To achieve this kind of accuracy required the creation of production-quality parts, which often required tooling that was expensive and could take months to build.
In contrast, rapid prototyping has revolutionized new product development. It utilizes digital manufacturing methods that enable designs to move directly from a CAD drawing to a finished plastic or metal part in a matter of hours or days, without the time-consuming and expensive intermediate step of tooling. That enables the designer and manufacturing partner to produce multiple iterations to quickly zero in on a final design or test multiple design options simultaneously.
Advantages of Rapid Prototyping
Rapid prototyping provides significant advantages to part designers. You can use it to:
- Reduce design and development time
- Create a physical model that enables you to solicit feedback
- Validate your design assumptions, including form, fit and functionality
- Save time and money (no need to produce tooling)
- Identify and minimize design flaws before production
- Accelerate your time to product launch – which can often be a competitive advantage
Rapid Prototyping Applications
Because of its utility and versatility, rapid prototyping has been widely adopted for these and other common applications:
- Visual prototypes and concept models
- Functional prototypes
- Pre-production prototypes
- Validate form, fit and function prior to production of tooling
- Test jigs and fixtures for accuracy
- Building molds for prototypes
- Marketing mockups for trade shows
Rapid Prototyping Technologies
As rapid prototyping has quickly grown in popularity as a new product development strategy, the term has become synonymous with 3D printing. But it can also be used with other automated and semi-automated manufacturing methods that are computer-controlled.
Here are the technologies in Fathom’s portfolio that can be used with rapid prototyping methods:
Additive / 3D Printing
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
This versatile additive technology can help you with your rapid prototyping, part validation and low-volume production needs, using the same thermoplastic materials you use for injection molding.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Producing parts in SLS technology is fast and affordable. That makes it an excellent choice for new product innovation and rapid iteration of prototype parts. Because SLS can be used to produce complex shapes with fine detail, it’s a preferred technique for creating concept models.
Because parts can be produced quickly using the STEP technology without tooling, it can help you bring new products to market faster and expand your company’s competitive edge. STEP produces parts with a smooth surface finish that doesn’t require post-processing.
Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF)
MJF technology can produce complex parts with highly accurate features and isotropic mechanical properties quickly. That makes it a popular option for everything from producing functional prototypes and bridge production to low- to medium-volume part production.
If you’re looking for a fast, low-cost way to produce presentation models or test the fit and finish of prototype parts, SLA technology is an ideal solution. It produces parts with accurate, detailed features and a high-quality surface finish that is perfect for creating visual prototypes.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
This metal additive technology enables you to produce and iterate prototype part designs quickly – without the expense of tooling. Unlike some other metal additive methods, DMLS parts don’t require an additional sintering step – which translates to faster production times.
Precision Turning of Metal and Plastic Parts
Parts can be CNC machined in a matter of hours, making it easy to iterate part designs and accelerate time to market. This manufacturing method produces parts with high precision and high accuracy, with tighter tolerances than injection molding or additive manufacturing.
Why Choose Fathom for Your Rapid Prototyping Needs?
Fathom has the expertise and technology to help you meet your needs faster.
Rapid prototyping is one of Fathom’s core competencies, backed by our unmatched engineering expertise. We can help you develop a process to help you test, validate and finalize your part designs quickly and cost-effectively.