What is Rapid Prototyping?
As innovations continue to churn out newer and better products at breakneck speeds, the need for quicker design iterations and shorter product cycles is also on the rise. One of the few efficient and reliable ways of achieving faster production is Rapid prototyping.
Quite simply, rapid prototyping is the umbrella name for the group of processes used to quickly manufacture a scalable model/prototype of a physical part. With rapid prototyping, product designers can collaborate with engineers, other designers and manufacturers to push out functional and quality products at more affordable prices.
What are the benefits of Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is safer
Rapid prototyping helps designers to create a prototype. Since there are multiple collaborations in this process, there is a higher chance of finding the perfect product. Also, since there is no tooling need for rapid prototyping, every design iteration can be produced and evaluated for feasibility at no significant cost. Rapid prototyping is thus a safer route to product launch.
Rapid prototyping is quicker
In today’s market where speed of entry is an undeniable factor that determines business success, product designers and engineers are looking for ways to test concepts with real users as quickly as possible.
The feedback that is gotten from rapid prototyping means that you do not fall into the pitfall of designing a high-fidelity prototype that has numerous flaws that will need to be addressed once it gets to the consumer testing stage.
Rapid prototyping is collaborative and inclusive
Working closely with your team or a group of specialist outside your organization will reveal many of your project’s strength and areas of improvement. This type of collaboaration will promote teamwork, brainstorming and creativity. It will also help you to unleash the creativity in your team and avoid the pitfall of overthinking and overperfection that usually slows the progress of most projects.
Stages in Rapid prototyping
Generally, every prototyping should be rapid prototyping. Irrespective of how rapid prototyping is handled, every project should have these 3 stages:
The ideation stage is the first stage of every rapid protoyping process. This stage is most effective when accelerated. Although getting the basic idea is crucial, the ideation stage is also where a lot of time is lost in overthinking the idea. Once the basic ideas and concepts is concluded, the next step should be to create a prototype. It is possible to have multiple ideas for the same concept. The faster you move to the next stage, the quicker you can invalidate the worst ideas.
Things you can try out in the ideation stage include:
Scribble rough ideas
Sketch out ideas that you’re more confident about
Select the best concept and proceed to evalaute it in the prototyping stage
Depending on the number of ideas that scale through your evaluation, a rapid prototyping process is best done by designing with low fidelity. Since additive manufacturing allows for testing concepts and making prototypes without the highest cost associated with tooling and traditional manufacturing, the prototyping stage is the perfect place to design all the concepts.
Try not to spend a lot of time refining small details and be sure to have each stakeholder or collaborator weigh in on their feedback.
The testing stage is the last phase of the rapid prototyping process. Your prototype should not be introduced to the whole stakeholders at once. Rather, gradually introduce the final prototype to a smaller group of audience, collect feedback and implement changes. Look to your internal stakeholders and then test with real users who are not part of the design team to get an unbiased opinion.
Be sure to record all feedback accurately and lay down markers that allow your users to clearly address a challenge/solution that will improve the next iteration. Ensure that reviewers express themselves in whichever way they feel most comfortable and request responses to how they think and feel about the product.
Make it Rapid with FirstPart
Rapid prototyping is one of the most collaborative and creative exercises for designers and engineers. The advantages are numerous and the ideas are limitless. With FirstPart, you can get all the amazing benefits of rapid prototyping and enjoy collaborating with our team of experts. Our rapid prototyping services are optimized to deliver high-quality fidelity prototypes at the best prices and quick turnaround times. Collaborating with First Part also allows both internal and external stakeholders weigh in on time to validate and manufacture the best-possible product that is functional and successful.
Aug 22 2019
Aug 22 2019
Aug 26 2019
Sep 02 2019
Sep 20 2019