Rapid Prototyping 3D Printing Expands Capabilities

Recent advancements in the additive manufacturing process have been beneficial in developing Rapid Prototyping 3D printing strategies. These new options, which include inserts, core modeling, or multiple materials, can greatly expand your prototyping capabilities.

In this webinar, we’ll discuss how to use these advanced processes to expand your rapid prototyping 3D printing.

In-depth topics include:

  • How a 3D printed part can become fully functional by adding fasteners, living hinges, linear bearings, and sensors
  • What core modeling is, and why you want to incorporate it into your next 3D print
  • What materials work best for certain situations, as well as what materials work well together for multiple material prints.

Add inserts during printing.

It is now possible to incorporate non-printed elements such as fasteners, electronics, switches, sensors, or even metal sub-structures into a printed part. This means that hardware can be inserted mid-print, allowing it to become completely encompassed by the 3D print process. The ability to add inserts is a key advantage of the FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) type of 3D printing and can result in fully functional prototypes.

Rapid Prototyping with 3D Printing

Create unique zones with core modeling.

Core modeling is the process of creating multiple zones or cores within a 3D printed object. Inside each core, engineers can specify different print process settings, such as an infill percentage or material type. This can be advantageous for those who need to create strength in a specific section of a model. By using core modeling, a dense infill can be applied to a single core as opposed to the entire part, but without sacrificing print time. The process can also be applied to the use of multiple materials within the same model, with each having their own specific print settings.

Utilize multiple material types.

There is an abundance of material types that are available for 3D printers. The ability to utilize these multiple material types for 3D printing allows users to select the right materials for their project. Often this involves using multiple materials in the same print. By applying the core modeling process, multiple materials can then be incorporated into the same model.

Rapid Prototyping – The process of manufacturing parts quickly from CAD models. It is an integral part of product development and product testing. Prototypes are required for validation, communication, fitment check, and final testing before launching and moving ahead for mass production. When utilized well, rapid prototyping 3d printing increases the quality of your designs by enhancing communication between the various parties and reducing the risk of building something that no one wants.

Why Rapid Prototyping? As Google Ventures design partner Daniel Burka says:

The ideal prototype should be “Goldilocks quality.” If the quality is too low, people won’t believe the prototype is a real product. If the quality is too high, you’ll be working all night, and you won’t finish. You need Goldilocks quality. Not too high, not too low, but just right.

What is prototype fidelity? Fidelity refers to how closely a prototype matches the final product or solution. You can choose from a lot of different options and levels of accuracy, depending on the stage of the process and the goal of the prototype. Layout and design are the most noticeable aspects of a prototype’s fidelity. If a prototype is produced with a high level of visual fidelity from the beginning, users will tend to focus on visual rather than functional details, which would distract from the primary goal of the early stages of prototyping.

Why Choose Rapid Prototyping 3D Printing?

  • Increase your time to market, decrease product development from months to days
  • Produce your ideas quickly and improve them more frequently, creating a better final product
  • Hold your product vision right in your hand
  • Finalize your design before costly tooling
  • Create functional samples in any size or number

Justifying a 3D Printer Investment for Rapid Prototyping

Do you think your company could benefit from 3D printing technologies? For many businesses prototyping is an expense, not an investment, and therefore hard to justify. They use the mindset that a higher volume of prototyping can only lead to increased expenses. However, with 3D printing there are significant advantages that can benefit rapid prototyping, and get your engineering and accounting teams on the same side. The following blog will help you define potential challenges, along with a whitepaper containing case studies and all the steps needed to make your case, and win!

Making the Case
New equipment costs compete for limited funds that are allocated across the entire company. In order to justify investments in 3D printing technology, you’ll need to build a case that demonstrates tangible results and value to management. This business case or a use case will contain an executive summary, a situational analysis, and a financial justification.

Strategies for Justifying a 3D Printer
Those that have succeeded in building their cases and obtaining approvals offer four strategies. These approaches provide a strong foundation and can be used alone or in combination.

1. Build on a Tiered Approach

  • First tier ¬– Substitution: Calculate the savings by substituting 3D printing processes for current prototyping work. Compare the results with traditional manufacturing techniques or third-party 3D printing service providers.
  • Second tier – Augmentation: Multiply the type of work being done in the substitution tier. The speed, efficiency, and capability of 3D printing decreases the time, cost, and effort when making prototypes.
  • Third tier – Extension: Utilize something in the product development process that isn’t a current activity. Extension is likely to deliver the most significant value since it is changing and improving processes.

2. Target Cost Reduction: Address the cost side of the equation. Current expenses are easier to measure than forecasted sales.

3. Address Current Problems: Avoid a hypothetical benefit, and instead present a solution to current problems. The strategy is to leverage what corporate management has already accepted as fact.

4. Leverage Shared Budgets: When expenses are split across departments, the decision making can shift from corporate management to managers and directors. Since these decision makers are closer to the day-to-day operations, they are more likely to appreciate the value of 3D printing.

Click here to learn more about rapid prototyping with the WorkSeries family of 3D printers.

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