Before we spent lots of money to make molds, some new project investor will make rapid prototyping to check the mechanical function or verify the designing,rapid prototype can be made of plastic,steel or aluminium.at the monment we have many methods to make prototypes, such as CNC machining, SLA technology and Vaccum custing technology.
Rapid Prototyping (RP) is a quick and economical way to make the sample according to your drawing or your idea, you can do assembly to verify the mechanical function, we can make painting,silk print and runner coationg,as the technology develop,the finish of prototypes reach the same level of mass production product.then you can see the real aprearance of your designning,sometimes customers use rapid prototype for business exhibition as real product.Good quality prototype is one of the reason,another important is the economic cost and short lead time,rapid prototype normally take one week,but molds will take one month at least,cost is also different,prototype will cost less than 300USD,but molds cost more than 2000 USD even if you find the cheapest mold manufacturer in China.
Also the rapid protyping have another important function:find the mistake or imperfection in the designing at the beginning of R&D and help designer optimise the designing step by step,if you find the problem after you build the mold,it will take thousands of USD to modify the tooling.
CNC Machining prototyping
This is most popular way to make rapid protypes in China.first ,the CNC machines is not expensive as others,it is less risk to invest the equipment.Second,they can make large size prototypes
Max size up 1100mm x 650mm x 470mm,
Advantages: Large size, high strength, good toughness, short delivery time.
tereolithography (SLA or SL; also known as optical fabrication, photo-solidification, solid free-form fabrication, solid imaging and Resin printing) is an additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology used for producing models or prototype
Application: toy, electric case parts with complex surface
Advantages: complex structure capable, high strength
Produce a silicone mold with a prototype part under vacuum, use the silicone mold to clone parts.
Advantages: Low cost, fast, it is very cheap to duplicate the prototypes,it have big advantage if you want 10-50 pcs parts.