If you plan on selling a product, you should also plan on familiarizing yourself with rapid prototype equipment since it will help you create a three-dimensional model of what you plan on marketing. Whether you produce a prototype with rapid injection molding, room temperature vulcanizing or stereo lithography, a prototype can help you mass-produce what you want for the marketplace. The very first machines to produce models became popular in the late 1980s and are now used in conjunction with CAD -- or computer aided drafting -- technologies to transform files into objects. And though the process includes the term "rapid," the process can take from hours to several days depending on the process and end product.
Though many businesses avoid buying rapid prototype equipment because they view it as too bulky and costly, some rapid prototyping manufacturers are now offering units made specifically for office environments.
Consider the following options in building your prototype:
1. Small, affordable rapid prototyping machines
2. Expertise of professional rapid prototyping services
3. Leasing rapid prototyping machinery
Take advantage of small rapid prototyping devices and small pricesIf you own a small business and plan on producing numerous prototypes, a small unit might be right for you. The cost of outsourcing prototyping can be expensive so if you plan on prototyping numerous products, you can quickly make up the cost of the machine.
Get help with professional services who have their own rapid prototyping equipmentIf you want help in rapid prototyping, you should turn to a company who specializes in helping you do just that. Relying on domestic rapid prototyping services is your best bet since communication will be key -- you'll want to make sure they understand exactly what you want in a finished product or how they can improve an existing prototype.
Find monthly leases on rapid prototyping machinery for affordabilityCan't afford the equipment? You may want to consider leasing. You can find small, monthly fees and get the convenience of building parts on-site. Some rapid prototyping equipment companies offer a rent-to-own option where the equipment is yours to keep at the end of the lease. During the term of the lease, some companies even offer to replace older models with ones that rely on newer technologies.
- Rapid prototype machinery that relies on injection molding produces the best parts for functional testing since they look and feel like what you'll eventually mass produce.