10 Reasons Product Designers Prototype With 3D Printing

Prototyping is a necessary stage in product development that can be time consuming and expensive for product designers, sometimes taking weeks-long chunks out of the development process. But as 3D printing technology has entered the scene, rapid prototyping has become its most popular application in all areas of design whether it be in jewelry, architecture or engineering, and more, because it facilitates the product design process considerably. Using 3D printing for rapid prototyping, designs can be tested and improved at a higher rate, therefore increasing production efficiency and cutting costs. Realistic iterations can be printed quickly for any stage of the design process, from a concept model to a functional prototype, and allow the designer to explore a physical piece to improve and avoid problems early on.

Want to learn more? Here are 10 ways rapid prototyping with 3D printing streamlines the design process:

1. Optimize The Design Using 3D Software

By creating the blueprints for the prototypes
and final design in 3D software, any edits or improvements to that design are
reflected accurately and promptly. The design can be visualized enough at this
initial stage to reduce any errors of communication and to make early
improvements that will save substantial time during the prototyping and
production stages. If the product or part requires customization, this design
can be revisited and expanded upon at any time.

2. Take Advantage of Form Freedom

3D design allows for the creation of complex geometries
that might not be as attainable in other processes. This allows for expanded
freedom in the design and the final shape of the product can only be limited by
the designer’s imagination. This flexibility makes it possible to produce a
professional proof of concept of innovative and original pieces without
sacrificing additional time or costs in the development process.

3. Save Time in Prototype Production

In traditional prototyping, the product designer or engineer would use materials such as cardboard, styrofoam or wood to create initial prototypes, then move on to creating functional prototypes using manufacturing processes typically used for finished products. This is often a costly and time-consuming process, and often not a practical use of resources when the product is still in the developing stages. With 3D printing, a prototype at any stage of the design process can be printed quickly and provide the exact information needed in that stage whether it is a proof of concept or a functional prototype. When developing a part, being able to reiterate quickly and affordably is crucial, and 3D printing facilitates that need for all stages of prototyping.

4. Save on or Eliminate Tooling Costs

3D Printing acts as an all-in-one production method for low-volume production and for...