What Is Rapid Prototyping

And How It is Used in Furniture Production

Traditionally, when elaborating on design ideas of the products, manufacturers and designers regard many workable variations. To decide on the best one, they order multiple prototypes for each item. At present, amongst many methods, rapid prototyping came in as the most effective way to actually design a product and launch its production as soon as possible.

So, what is rapid prototyping? It is a group of techniques used to build a prototyping model quickly by applying 3D computer-generated design data. The construction itself is executed by using 3D printing. Thus, old-school industrial methods seem cumbersome and time-consuming against such progressive technology. Besides, it allows testing and approving rapid prototypes in the shortest time frame during the development phase. 

Such techniques are broadly used with 3D modeling, which boosts the whole production process even more and enhances time to market. In general, the technology offers many benefits to furniture manufacturers. But here are the most pivotal ones. 

#1. Rapid Prototyping Adds to Quick Concept Execution

Rapid prototyping helps achieve fast concept realization

To understand how rapid prototyping contributes to concept execution, it’s important to know the basics. So, what is rapid prototyping against usual industrial practices? Rapid prototyping models are made by blending raw materials together, such as photopolymers, metal or ceramic powders, thermoplastics. Industrial techniques, on the other hand, are usually compressive and subtractive. They are proved to be enormously time and cost-consuming nowadays.

Rapid prototyping operates by short cycles to fine-tune the principal design quickly. Moreover, at the earliest stage of low-fidelity prototyping, they can be even shorter. The visible element it provides adds to getting an early buy-in from the team and investors. 

With 3D modeling, things are even easier and faster. To accelerate the process, CG specialists turn to ready-made 3D models, herewith customizing proportions and structure. What’s more, if design modifications are required here and now, 3D software enables you to make them within a few minutes. 

#2. The Technology Accelerates Collaboration And Feedback

Rapid Prototyping means collaboration and feedback

What is rapid prototyping in terms of communication and collaboration? If explaining in a broader way, rapid prototyping helps develop a shared understanding across the team. The creators share a model with other team members, stakeholders, and focus groups positioned as end-users. Everyone assesses the build and usability and then provide feedback. This is an early opportunity to interact with designers and debate on the product prototype to finally agree on the most successful model.

3D modeling works the same way in terms of communication prior to design approval and production. 3D renders explain the usability of the product at the very presentation, and manufacturers can examine and evaluate proportions, materials and so on and ask for modifications right at the moment. 3D artists can start making them immediately after or even during discussions. Therefore, it is absolutely possible to create a convenient prototype from the first shot and not to waste money and time for remodeling and other changes.

#3. It Addresses Limitations With Difficult Parts Production

Rapid prototyping addresses difficult parts manufacturing

Tiny components of models that used to be complicated to design and produce are now easy to craft. With rapid prototyping, elements with minute inner cavities and compound geometric designs are created without stress. This allows designers to think out-of-the-box, provide creative ideas and get them approved shortly.

3D technology is advanced enough to tackle the most ambitious ideas and address the limitations of traditional industrial modeling. As it was previously mentioned, 3D specialists can create 3D furniture models or 3D product designs by using already existing geometric shapes and modify them by altering curves, points and surfaces, etc. 3D software works miracles with shapes, textures, colors and other product characteristics, and the technology itself provides enormous opportunities to furniture manufacturers these days.

#4. Rapid Prototyping Favors The Ultimate Customization

Customization is one of the approaches that promises to influence the business’ success in 2020. Thus, rapid prototyping is focused on end-user testing, serviceability, and customer experience from the very beginning. This means product designs are closer to the customer’s needs and wants. It especially makes sense when the manufacturers know well their target audience. 

With rapid prototyping, designs can be easily tailored to the requirements of the clients, and they can feel safe when specialists modify them. With one tweak in the model, a prototype becomes different without using special tools, patterns, or molds. What is rapid prototyping against 3D technology? In fact, the latter can only double the efficiency of the process and provide the best customization based on customers’ current wishes.

#5. It Reduces Time To Market The Product

Rapid prototyping gets the product to public fast

When the business’ stakeholder is asking “What is rapid prototyping”, it’s the right time to show how quickly the product gets to the market. Since rapid prototypes are super iterative, the team can check the designs quickly, approve one of them, and start the production immediately. 

Also, the technology combined with 3D modeling comes in a sharable, modifiable format that gets around many procedures related to traditional modeling and manufacturing. Moreover, designers can easily access 3D models of the prototypes to check for viability, and designs can be tweaked within the stipulated time frame to meet the needs of the public.

Such speed advantage brings about the premium positioning on the market and the expansion of the market share respectively. Finally, by getting to the market faster, manufacturers will recoup development expenses also more quickly, which also means less costs on labor.

What is rapid prototyping and why furniture manufacturers should use it along with 3D product design services? It is beneficial in many ways. Apart from the fact that it helps accelerate the pre-production phase and increases accuracy, it also contributes to cutting costs and satisfying customers in the best possible way. It’s a modern, progressive way to launch the products nowadays with optimized processes in every stage. 

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Max Kharchenko

Senior Account Manager

An ultimate problem-solver and skilled negotiator, Max provides first-class advice to clients. He is an extrovert, a dog person, and a sheer pleasure to talk to. In his spare time, Max enjoys playing basketball and watching Netflix.

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