A prototype is the first model of an invention that is created by an inventor to obtain an idea of how the product, which is brought out of the invention idea, will work in the real world.
The prototyping of an invention idea is what helps the inventor to get the opinion of the potential companies, consumers and investors.
There are three development stages that exist in the prototype production process.
The first one is the crude prototype that helps inventors in having a better feel for the design concept, while the second is the working prototype that users can use to testify a few of his/her invention’s features.
And the final prototype, which, though, can be built from any type of material, works as the final product.
While a prototype can be constructed through various methods, Rapid Prototyping (RP) and CNC machining are the two main categories of prototype modeling.
Comparatively, both ways come with their own pros and cons, with the invention of newer and rapid prototyping techniques, CNC machining has grown its efficiency to vie with the rivals.
CNC machining requires the use of a machine that’s programmed with CAM/CAD software.
The prototype design has its creation in the program and is later created by the CNC machine within just an hour.
Dissimilar to rapid prototyping, CNC machining centers have the capability of producing prototypes in a large range of materials, like wood, plastic, ceramics and metal.
That apart, it can also produce pieces of all complex shapes and sizes.
Also known as “layered manufacturing,” the Rapid Prototyping includes many types of methods that help in quick prototypes fabrication.
With the use of three-dimensional CAD drawings, the RP machine starts the prototype modeling process by slicing model into several sections.
Thereafter a three-dimensional laser “draws” one of the layers on the inside of a vat of liquid plastic.
The plastic gets hardened, and a platform reduces it by only a fraction of a millimeter, and the subsequent layer is taken out. This process goes on until the prototype completes.
Rapid Prototyping can also produce extremely complicated shapes and is highly helpful when looking to go for a complicated design though; this process is not as quick as the earlier.
Based upon the size and nature of the prototype, a single layer takes just a few seconds to finish up.
Furthermore, after finishing, the plastic has to be mended before considering it a complete product.
Some of the instances of prototyping methods include: elective Laser Sintering, Stereo-lithography, LOM and Fused Deposition Modeling.
The need for prototypes for progressing is marked by the rising number of invention methods that are employed to produce them. As there is continuous competition and technological advancements, the production of prototype modeling will get quicker and easier to create.