Rapid Prototyping Methodology / Process Steps
Rapid prototyping, also called three-dimensional impression, helps companies grow ideas into unique products. Its design and engineering process allows you to be innovative and creative. You can fabricate parts using 3D designs and printing techniques.
The construction of the prototype involves “additive manufacturing” i.e. placing multiple layers of materials in distinctive shapes. Prototypes allow you to bring a customer’s idea to fruition ahead of the competitors and keep you in the global market. The steps involved are distinct and should be followed to help meet your customer’s needs.
1. Identify your customer’s requirements
Know your customers and understand exactly what they need. Sometimes you may have to take your customer’s ideas and develop them. After discussions with a customer, determine if you can develop the perfect product for them.
2. Set a plan of action
Determine all the inputs: tools, equipment and rapid prototyping machinery required for the process. Ensure both CAD and all other necessary software are available. Get your team to understand the process and set a logical plan of action. Take into consideration time limits and availability of resources.
3. Provide a prototype
You can develop an initial prototype using the code and the application user interface. The prototype usually looks and works like the final product.
4. Get feedback
Once you are satisfied with the prototype, show it to your customer to examine it and give you feedback. Customers’ findings should be taken into consideration before improvements are made.
5. Improve prototype code
Your customer’s feedback drives the improvements to be made. The customer may ask for additions to improve the usefulness of the product, or they may have identified a feature that should be omitted. The prototype code helps in developing the actual system.
6. Convert prototype code to actual code
The actual code used is different from the prototype user interface code and therefore you need to again obtain feedback from your customer. The programmers will then code the prototype user interface and if the customer is pleased with the user interface, prepare for your final product development.
7. Get further feedback
Constant feedback is necessary in order to make vital changes and save time before you produce the final product. Once the final feedback is positive you have the green light to produce the final prototype. This will be the actual product.
8. Improve final code
The actual code is refined and the cycle is repeated for accuracy. And best of all, you can document and store the software for future use.
9. Release product
You are now ready to deliver a 3D printed product that is sure to put a smile on your customer’s face.
Rapid prototyping will help you design products in a short time and will open new opportunities for complex projects. Plus, with each unique step in the process, you can develop extraordinary products.
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