If a customer wants a working prototype without going through the full cost and manufacturing process, 3D printing can be used. With 3D printing, a prototype is created in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modeling program or a 3D scanner. After which, the file is transferred to the 3D printer where it is ready to be created. Also known as additive manufacturing, this type of printing is achieved by adding and compiling thin slices of successive material, to the point where the 3D prototype is finalized and printed. Once completed, the customer will have a working 3D version of their prototype at a fraction of the manufacturing price.
When a prototype demands production material properties, Computer Numerically Controlled machining (CNC machining) is the best form of prototyping available. CNC machining, also known as subtractive machining, takes a solid piece of material and cuts away all unneeded material to produce the part. The prototype is designed in a 3D modeling program, which is then transferred to a CNC machine that completes the part. With a wide array of materials CNC can cut, this type of prototyping is ideal for functional testing as well as fit & form testing.
Injection molding is the best solution to create production ready prototype when time is not as critical. Since this type of prototyping is so close to the final product, it can be used to show your new product before production.
When cost is your main concern, this type of prototyping is highly effective, without the use of CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machines. There are certain instances where other Rapid Prototyping methods can be overkill. Blue Dolphin is a full service conventional machine shop; we implement more traditional prototyping methods with the same acute accuracy and commitment to speed of production.