Industry Proto-mold Co., Ltd.
Industry Proto-mold Co., Ltd.

Methods of Rapid Prototyping

Each fast prototyping method has its advantages and disadvantages, as well as the factors that make it best for certain projects.

Ⅰ. 3D printing fast prototyping

3d rapid prototyping services is a relatively new process, also known as additive manufacturing, the process of printing a product one layer at a time until a 3D component is built from multiple layers. Each layer may be about 100 microns thick. The printer is controlled by a computerized system that takes a 3D design as input and creates a 3D product as output.

Technology has evolved over time and a wide variety of materials have become available for printing. Plastic, nylon, resin, silver, titanium, steel, wax, photopolymer and polycarbonate can all be used as 3D printing materials by plastic rapid prototyping.

There are three main types of 3D printers:

1. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) uses printing materials provided in powder form. Each layer of the part is formed by melting the powder using a laser. Roll the fresh powder on top of the partially finished part and start the process again until the entire part is complete.

2. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) uses thermoplastic filaments and melts them for extrusion. The extrusion is precisely controlled by the computer according to the 3D design, printed layer by layer.

3. Stereolithography also uses lasers, but in this case, the liquid product is cured one layer at a time by the action of the laser, which is controlled to match the design.

3D printing is popular for rapid prototyping because the process is very resource-efficient. No production line tools are required, labor requirements are minimal, and very little waste is generated. The downside of 3D printing is that it can be time-consuming, taking hours or even days to build complex parts. Part size is limited by the printing area of the machine. Also, because some metals have very high melting points, it may not be possible to produce parts from the desired material by metal rapid prototyping.

Ⅱ. CNC rapid prototyping process

CNC rapid prototyping is a very popular method to develop both virtual and functional types of rapid prototypes. Commonly referred to as CNC-RP, it is favored due to its high precision, stable dimensions, and stable quality. However, to achieve high-quality CNC-RP, this process must be strictly followed.

Design Concept→Generate 3D File→Production Sequence Identification→

NC programming:

The numerical control program is used to provide the numerical control machining sequence and tool operation instructions to the numerical control machine tool. It is used to guide the CNC machine tool which tool to choose, the travel time and distance of the tool, the feed rate, the depth of cut, etc. All instructions are embedded into the CNC program, enabling CNC rapid prototyping to be automated according to production requirements.

Rapid Prototyping:

Once the CNC program is ready, it is set up in the CNC panel of the CNC machine. Once the workpiece is mounted on the tool and the machine is set to run mode, the seamless CNC machining process begins. A prototype of the desired product is obtained by performing multiple CNC machining processes on the workpiece. Prototypes can be virtual or fully functional.


Testing is the last and most important step in CNC rapid prototyping. The ultimate goal of rapid prototyping is to test the functionality of the desired product and check for errors and fault coverage. Therefore, CNC prototypes will be tested for functionality, defects, durability and overall performance.

Once the CNC prototype has been tested and approved by the product experts, the final product is ready for production. If the prototype fails to meet the original requirements, the second best idea of the prototype is selected and CNC machined to check the same aspects.

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