Rapid prototyping refers to a number of different techniques used to make prototypes based on the CAD data. As the name suggests, rapid prototyping is meant to speed up the process of prototype construction.
Thanks to these techniques, designers get to see how their idea would look in real life, without the actual need of making a real-size model, something which would not only take a lot of time, but also a lot of money in order to be completed.
However, despite being meant for creating scale models, certain rapid prototyping techniques have found their way into the production process, sparking a sort of revolution in modern-day industry.
Revolution in the Car Industry
In 2014, a team of researchers at the Aachen University decided not to use rapid prototyping only for scale model creation, but also for manufacture of certain parts of their StreetScooter C16. The vehicle in question is one of the first of its kind, with all of its plastic exterior parts made with the use of 3D printing technology.
The vehicle caught the eye of many people in Germany, including those at Deutsche Post, the largest courier company in Europe. Five years after the first StreetScooter C16 saw the light of the day, these vehicles are the ones that make up most of the vehicle fleet of Deutsche Post.
The success of StreetScooter C16 is just one of many examples how rapid prototyping can revolutionize the manufacturing process. More importantly, this example has proven that rapid prototyping techniques can provide a shortcut to entrepreneurs, designers, and inventors from all over the world in turning their idea into reality.
Turning Your Idea Into Reality
Just a decade ago, making an actual prototype based on an idea you had in your mind was a real nightmare. It required a lot of work and even more money. Today, it’s a whole different story thanks to rapid prototyping, which is a very fast and a very affordable solution.
In order to make your own scale model, all you need is a design in the form of a CAD file. And with that file, a company offering rapid prototyping services can turn your idea into a prototype in a jiffy. Actually, they can create as many copies as you wish.
The best thing is that depending on the type of the product you wish to create, the manufacturing process can be taken care of by the same rapid prototyping company.
Rapid Prototyping for Startups
Let’s say you have a brilliant idea that could bring you a fortune, but that’s all you have. You don’t know how to make a 3D design, nor do you have the funds to create prototypes, nevertheless to start manufacturing your product.
Luckily, you were born at the right time; today, you can use the internet to turn your idea into a real thing. You can hire a CAD designer from literally any part of the world to create a 3D design, which you would then use to make scale models through rapid prototyping.
And with the help of prototypes, the chance of finding an investor ready to help you launch your product is pretty good. The guys from the Aachen University did it, why wouldn’t you do the same?