What New Manufacturing Managers Need to Know About Rapid Prototyping Services

By DonShook

If you have been promoted to a manager role for a company that manufactures parts and products, then you need to know how to find the best rapid prototyping services in America, and you need to know some various details about this manufacturing process. Once you understand more about rapid prototyping, you will be in a great seat to implement this manufacturing process into your operations, and you will know how to find the right rapid prototyping company.

What is Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping is the speedy fabrication of a model, part or assembly by means of using 3D computer aided design (CAD), and that is usually finalized after embracing 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. There is a high fidelity prototype and a low fidelity prototype. Highfidelity prototypes are based by means of computer programs and enable realistic user interactions, while low fidelity is a fast and simple manner to convey design concepts into pieces that can be tested.

How does Rapid Prototyping Work?

Rapid prototyping can be completed using a wide range of manufacturing technologies. However, most rapid prototyping projects use layered additive manufacturing. The best rapid prototyping companies will use other manufacturing technologies like plastic injection molding, casting, high-speed machining, and extruding. Computers program the manufacturing steps, and an automated process begins rapid execution to ensure that parts are created in rapid succession.

What is the Value of Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping enables brands to get their products to market much faster. This is critical to organizational growth because it positions brands to offer their goods before the competition can go to market, and this gives buyers the impression that the brand is the authority figure in the dedicated space. Rapid prototyping also enables parts to be made faster so that various test groups can engage the overall product and look for opportunities to improve the user experience, production cost, and overall quality. Without rapid prototyping the time it would take to complete a retail product, for example, would be significantly longer, and more dollars would be required to move progress along at a snail’s pace.

Rapid Prototyping and Machine Tooling


Machine tooling is a process that often coincides with rapid prototyping. When used, this process enables engineers to “shape” or “machine” metals or other rigid materials by grinding, boring, cutting, shearing, and other types of material removal.

The exact form of the process being executed will be predicated on a plethora of factors, including part complexity, part quantity to be manufactured, and prototype quantity. Some of the common machine tooling categories surround the following:

  • Fixtures
  • Patterns
  • Jigs
  • Dies
  • Cutting gear
  • Gauges
  • Molds

Keep in mind that machine tooling has a direct impact on output capacity, pricing, product lifecycle, and quality. When teams finalize the accurate tooling approach they are achieving a critical mark for the manufacturing process. The reason is that, if the tool doesn’t perform correctly,  the product won’t be manufactured to the needed specs. This is why tool and mold manufacturers are critical to the overall success of the end product when rapid prototyping is the main service on the table.