Simply put, prototype machining produces a small number of parts before generating a bigger batch. Most businesses opt for prototype machining for appearance and testing purposes.
The former checks how the part will look after production, while the latter is more concerned about the performance of the part and whether it will perform its intended purpose.
To get a reliable turnaround, you need precision capabilities. Getting a dedicated business to handle such precision is no walk in the park because talk is cheap. At Glenn Metalcraft Inc., we provide unmatched prototype designs that give you a high ROI.
What is a prototype?
A prototype is an early version of a product that is created to test its concept and performance. Ideally, you can’t produce a part in large quantities before testing it, and the best way to do it is through prototyping.
A prototype allows you to evaluate a product and improve its accuracy, quality, and design. Prototypes often fail during testing, and it’s usually a good gesture because designers can detect defects early, correct them, and produce a reliable final product.
When are prototypes used?
Prototypes come in handy during the design process. Industrial engineers can test products through prototypes before they can begin mass production. Additionally, prototyping can be used to evaluate an existing design or product and improve its precision.
Most of the time, theoretical tests don’t provide real-life solutions. As a business, the only way to stand out and serve your clients beyond expectations is to ensure your product is well-tested in the design stage.
Through prototyping, errors in the final product are not passed directly to consumers. The process is also cost-effective for businesses.
The prototyping process
The prototype machining process provides quick feedback to the engineers on the performance of the design. Through feedback, the engineers can go back to the drawing table, improve the prototype, and have an effective final product.
However, the prototyping process has some crucial steps to obtaining optimum performance. They include:
The first step engineers undertake is to review the design using a 3D CAD system in molding. At this stage, engineers can get an insight into the most efficient design features and make adjustments before the model is produced.
Engineers can plan and ensure that every prototype can be produced efficiently on a large scale because some prototypes are difficult for mass production.
Creating a 3d model
After engineers have correctly mapped the design review process, the next step is to create a 3D model. The molded prototype is then sent to a machine shop for production using a CAM program.
Engineering the prototype
The last step is to engineer the prototype. CNC prototyping can be used in this process; however, it’s not cost-effective compared to 3D printing, especially if you need to cut expenses in the prototyping stage.
The design roars to life after the prototype is finally produced. After that, the prototype can be put into mass production.
Benefits of prototyping
Different prototype parts play different roles, all in harmony to have an efficient final product. A lot goes on during the product development stages, and we can’t truly appreciate prototyping without listing its benefits. They include:
- You get to receive feedback from end users, such as customers
- You get to discover design problems early and correct them.
- You get a precise estimate of the production cost
- You’re able to test and determine if the product is durable
- You can improve the product
- You can raise funds and find investors because you have a working prototype to demonstrate.
What are the advantages of metal prototypes?
Metal prototypes are made using metal manufacturing techniques such as CNC machining, sheet metal forming, and casting. Although you can use plastics for prototypes, metal is preferred because it closely mimics the final products.
Some of the advantages of using metal prototypes include the following:
- You get better functional and mechanical performance
- You get precise, accurate testing
- You get better aesthetics
- You get a higher chance of convincing an investor
- It’s easier to move to the next phase, which is the production
What methods are available for making metal prototypes?
The available methods for making metal prototypes differ in mechanical results achieved, costs incurred, and the time taken in production. To get a better glimpse, we will take a look at some of the methods.
CNC machining uses instructions from a computer to cut a metal block. The method is relatively affordable because you can make duplicates easily or share the design with other parties. However, the subtractive nature of the prototype machining process leads to material wastage.
3D printing, just like CNC machining, uses design input from a computer. The 3D-printed prototypes stand out from the rest because of their complex features, especially in the internal sections. In addition, you also get the design at a low cost, although the surface finish may not be impressive.
During metal casting, you pour hot liquid metal inside a mold. When the mold cools down, it becomes a part. Metal casting parts are solid and high quality, but quality comes at a price. You require specialist equipment, which is quite expensive.
Get the best metal prototyping services.
Getting the right shop for prototype machining can be a daunting challenge. At Glenn Metalcraft Inc., the expertise gained since 1947 will provide you with prototype designs forged on quality. Contact us today.
In addition, we have extended services offered by our parent company, Elemet Group, at your disposal.