With rapid prototyping, manufacturers can turn smart ideas into prototypes that have the same design as the final product. Aside from this, this technology guides different products through different stages of validation for mass production. In this article, we are going to share with you 10 tips that can help you reduce costs and the time it takes to produce prototypes.
1. Prototype In-House
If you want to invest in the prototyping business, you need to ask yourself many questions first. One of the primary questions is about finding out whether you should buy equipment to create in-house prototypes or outsource these projects to another provider.
For most companies, the best practice is to buy the required prototyping tools to work on smaller projects. For bigger projects, it’s better to use the outsourcing option. The same goes for the making of non-standard or complex parts.
2. Opt for the Right Technology
If you want to choose the best prototyping equipment and material, make sure you consider your needs first. Do you need the models for testing or demonstration purposes?
By considering your needs, you can opt for the best technology. So, if you need basic models, you should opt for equipment that can offer speed, better finishing and attention to details.
3. Use Automation for Post-Processing
Often, post-processing is overlooked. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you will have to spend plenty of time on the post-processing aspect of the project. Some technologies don’t require that much post-processing. However, 3D printed components do require some level of post-processing. You can automate some parts of this stage in order to reduce costs and labor time.
4. Use multiple prints for Assembling Large Parts
It can be quit costly to perform 3D printing of big parts. Therefore, it requires makers to outsource this type of projects. The reason is that these projects require big industrial printers.
Since assemblies comprise different building blocks, dividing a model into different parts is an ideal solution for the purpose of creating large objects. Apart from this, you can add more features to the designs for print alignments.
5. Make Hollow Parts
The majority of 3D printers make dense parts. If you don’t print functional components of any specific length, your best bet is to consider making hollow prototypes. This can help you save a lot of printing time and raw material.
6. Set the Layer Height
If you want to cut down on the printing time, you can adjust the layer height. For instance, if you have SLA systems, the difference between components printed with 100 and 50 micron of layers can be hardly noticeable. However, it can help you save plenty of time.
7. Optimize your Schedule
If you want to improve your printing schedule, you can try out a couple of methods. You can print 24/7 and still enjoy the maximum throughput. Given below are some best practices that you can follow.
- Batch several parts into the same build
- Consider printing shorter runs before the sunset
- Use more than one printer to divide the workload and boost throughput
- You can try dashboard for receiving alerts upon the finishing of a print
Hopefully, these 7 tips will help you reduce the prototyping costs and lead times.