A prototype is a conceptual model, a preliminary depiction of the ultimate intent or idea of a design. Prototypes tend to be incomplete models. They provide the basis for working out design ideas, testing assumptions, and obtaining feedback from users.
- Improve communication
- Decrease development time
- Reduce project cost and minimize risk
- Minimize the number of design-process modifications
- Extend product lifetime by adding necessary features and eliminating redundant ones early in the design process
- Enable design variations
- Enable greater product complexity, if desired
- Decrease delivery time, ultimately facilitating quicker introduction to the marketplace
Methodology of Prototypes
The basic methodology for prototyping techniques is as follows:
- A CAD model is constructed, then converted to STL format. The resolution can be set high enough to minimize stair-stepping.
- The RP machine processes the .STL file by creating sliced layers of the model.
- The first layer of the physical model is created. The model’s profile is then incremented by the thickness of the next layer, and this process is repeated to completion of the model.
- The model and any supports are removed. The surface of the model is then finished and cleaned.
Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA)
Computer Numerical Control (CNC)
Rapid Prototyping (RP)
Laminated-Object Manufacturing (LOM)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Fusion-Deposition Modeling (FDM)