Prototyping involves the creation of first production models in order to test their characteristics and performance. In this way, possible improvement points can be identified before actual production. It represents a fundamental technique for the development of new products, indispensable within the manufacturing cycle. When we refer to Mechanical Prototyping, however, we are referring to the creation of original models designed to meet a customer's specific requirements.
Thus, in this article, we will deal specifically with the concept of Mechanical Prototyping, what it is and how it works.
What is meant by Mechanical Prototyping
Mechanical Prototyping involves the creation of physical models made with the aim of satisfying a customer's needs. The mechanical prototype, therefore, is a first working version of a device or component, which reflects the design specifications and meets the functional requirements.
The process begins with an in-depth discussion with the customer, which leads to the conception of a model. From there, we move on to its manufacture: mechanical prototypes can be made through additive technologies or by means of traditional mechanical machining (such as cutting or turning), which allow the prototype to be quickly parameterised and modified. More specifically, we speak in one case of 3D printing, in the other of CNC machining.
3D printing is a rapid prototyping technology that allows three-dimensional objects to be created by superimposing successive layers of material. It offers great flexibility in the realisation of complex geometries and allows prototypes to be produced quickly and cost-effectively.
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining uses a computer-controlled machine that removes material from a solid block to create a three-dimensional object. This process is suitable for making prototypes from materials other than those used in 3D printing, such as metals and alloys.
When to use Mechanical Prototyping
Mechanical Prototyping is particularly useful when a part has yet to be produced. A business can then rely on Precision Mechanical Workshops to meet a specific need.
In general, prototyping is a long and fascinating process that is essential in a number of situations. Among these is the preliminary evaluation of new design concepts: prototypes allow us to verify feasibility, production costs and expected performance before developing the final design.
It also allows product performance to be tested and optimised, providing valuable feedback to improve the design and ensure market success. But a physical prototype can also be used to present an idea to potential investors, demonstrating its features and benefits in a tangible way.
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