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Rapid Prototyping Expert to Answer Related Questions

Today we are very honor to have a rapid prototyping expert from the most experienced rapid prototyping company Nextproto Manufacturing Limited to answer questions relating to rapid prototyping. Our focus is on the strategy and implementation.


Q1. Our specific requirement is to digitise (or otherwise) an existing clay model to be scaled up and rapid prototyped to provide a pattern for carbon moulding. Please advise.

A1. This sort of question is difficult to answer - one needs to know a lot more specific detail before making any comments. I suggest that you contact a number of rapid prototyping bureaux. They are likely to have the necessary technology or know where to sub contract work, and will have a better understanding of the fit between specific rapid prototyping processes and carbon moulding. Choosing a specific rapid prototyping technology requires specific technical expertise and knowledge of the processes.


Q2. What are the main benefits and disadvantages to rapid prototyping?

A2. It is necessary to examine this question in the context of business strategy and strategic objectives. One company's perception of a disadvantage in the context of one particular strategy might be seen by another company in a different way in the context of another strategy. Overall rapid prototyping technologies should also be examined in the light of other technologies and what they might offer in terms of benefits. In the end it's a matter of resources, priorities and business content and making a list of benefits and disadvantages independent of these factors is not necessarily helpful.


Q3. I am interested in obtaining physical properties and aging data on materials used in rapid prototyping... particularly stereolithography, laser sintering, and fused deposition processes. Also, can prefabricated components be incorporated in any or all of these processes? Example: Metal or composite spokes placed in the stereolithography bath and hub and wheel generated around the spokes.

A3. This question is of a very technical nature. We suggest as a starting point that you visit some websites which provide many rapid prototypingtechnologies.You might be able to find answers to your questions or a hint on where to find someone that can provide an answer. You could also contact rapid prototyping process vendors.


Q4. I have to carry out a cost/benefit analysis, but I am not sure how to effectively structure this. Could you please provide guidance?

A4. To establish the benefits and costs one first has to understand the application potential. Only when one knows the possible applications can one determine the costs. These costs can be quite varied. There are obvious ones such as the rapid prototyping machine itself, any ancillary equipment required for post processing models, but also the cost of a host of hidden extras. These stem from two sources. The first source of hidden cost stems largely from: the need to possibly modify existing computer-aided design systems; additional secondary technologies required to transform models into tooling and components; further equipment required to reduce and eliminate health and safety risks; and so on. The second source of hidden costs stems from organisational and human resource issues. These amount to more than just the obvious training costs associated with learning how to operate the new equipment. The main additional cost is that associated with organisational changes which are likely to be needed for several reasons. These are the sort of issues addressed in the management report. There is a chapter on the potential costs as well as a chapter that deals with the preparation of a business case.


Q5. Would it be possible to gain some information on how to implement rapid prototyping within an organization?

A5. This is abig question covering many issues. It is hard to condense an answer into a few words. The best starting point is to understand the application potential of these technologies and to sort out the strategy first. Then pick the applications to match the strategy. These applications may be additional to any specific problems that you are trying to resolve.


Nextproto Manufacturing Limited is a rapid prototyping and prototype manufacturing services company inChina. Our founders have been in the rapid prototyping and tooling/molding industry since 2008. Our team is a group of well-educated young Chinese engineers with manufacturing background. More information, please click www.nextproto.com.