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Rapid Prototyping: An asset for your business


Rapid prototyping is a powerful tool that has revolutionized the way we design and develop products. With rapid prototyping, designers and engineers can quickly create physical prototypes of their designs, test them, and iterate until they have a final product that meets their needs. In this article, we’ll explore what rapid prototyping is, how it works, and the benefits of using it in product development.

electronic casing

What is rapid prototyping?

Rapid prototyping is a process used in product development to quickly create physical prototypes of a design. These prototypes can be used to test the design’s functionality, identify potential problems, and make iterative improvements. There are several different methods of rapid prototyping, including 3D printing, CNC machining, and injection molding. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, depending on the specific needs of the project.

3D printing is the quickest way to turn your ideas into a practical prototype, and it can be utilized at any point of the production process. More precisely, 3D printing can be an invaluable ally throughout the early stages of product development. Make as many iterations as needed with superb precision and speed up your prototyping process with 3D printing technologies.

How does rapid prototyping work?

The rapid prototyping process typically involves the following steps:

  • Step 1 – Design: The designer creates a 3D model of the product using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

  • Step 2 – Preparation: The CAD model is prepared for prototyping, which may involve simplifying the geometry, adding support structures, and configuring the printer or other equipment.

  • Step 3 – 3D Printing: The CAD model is printed using a 3D printer or other prototyping equipment.

  • Step 4 – Testing: The prototype is tested to identify any problems with the design, such as fit, function, or durability.

  • Step 5 – Iteration: Based on the results of testing, the design is modified and a new prototype is created.

This process is repeated until the final design is achieved, at which point the product can be manufactured at scale.

What are the benefits of rapid prototyping with 3D printing?

It can take months to create a prototype using traditional manufacturing techniques, which is quickly becoming expensive for your business. With rapid prototyping and 3D printing, it only takes days, which is a saving you time and money in the long run.

Since you’re not committing to a large-scale production run, you can make changes and iterations easily. Flexibility is an incredible advantage when working on complex and innovative products requiring testing.

Creating a physical model allows getting a better sense of your product, how it will look and how it will function. This is a way to get the feedback needed about your product. Making high-fidelity prototypes is a crucial step to making adjustments or improvements and making the perfect product meeting your needs and requirements.

By catching mistakes early, and iterating in a reactive way, you will speed up the process and save money. Rapid prototyping with additive manufacturing is a cost-effective way to prototype your ideas.

What are the best 3D printing technologies and materials for rapid prototyping?

When choosing to boost your prototyping process with 3D printing, you get the opportunity to use great alternatives to injection molding or CNC machining. Here are some useful 3D printing technologies to create your functional prototypes, and proof of concepts and accelerate your product development.

Selective Laser Sintering

SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) is a type of additive manufacturing. Parts are created additively by sintering small polymer powder particles to fuse them locally. Your plastic object will be built up layer by layer based on your 3D model. SLS is an excellent tool for rapid prototyping. This technique is suitable for functional prototyping because it enables for production parts that are close to end-use quality while allowing for a high degree of valuable and sound design freedom. You will be able to create idea models and test parts. Complex designs can be prototyped using SLS.

SLS materials you can use for your prototyping process:

Multi Jet Fusion

Multi Jet Fusion is an additive manufacturing method invented and developed by the company Hewlett-Packard (HP). It creates parts additively thanks to a multi-agent printing process. Your plastic part will be created layer by layer, according to your 3D model. 

This technology allows you to cut costs while improving performance. Mechanical (e.g., prototypes, articulated items, geared systems), electrical, medicinal, ornamental, automotive, and even educational applications can all benefit from the Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology. You can easily boost your prototyping process using this technology.

MJF materials you can use for your prototyping process:

  • PA11 HP : Approved for skin contact and good impact resistance
  • PA12: Versatile, a perfect ally for rapid prototyping
  • Ultrasint® TPU01: Ideal for flexible prototypes


Stereolithography (SLA) is one of the oldest 3D printing techniques ever developed. This additive manufacturing process uses a photochemical process to 3D print resin material.

SLA (Stereolithography) prototyping resin is ideal for creating rapid aesthetic prototypes. SLA is commonly used to create highly detailed artwork and non-functional prototypes, as well as molds for investment casting applications.

SLA material you can use for your prototyping process:


Fused filament fabrication (FFF), also known as fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing, is a type of additive manufacturing (AM). The finished physical things are made using thermoplastic polymer filaments. To construct 3D printed parts layer by layer, the print head is moved under computer control to define the printed shape and selectively deposits melted filament material along a predetermined route.

FDM is the most widely used technology in most industries and has the largest installed base of 3D printers worldwide. This 3D printing process, which is mostly used for prototyping, may be applied to a wide range of industries, from jewelry to automotive to medical. FFF / FDM is frequently used in rapid manufacturing and prototyping. Rapid prototyping facilitates iterative testing, and rapid manufacturing can be a more cost-effective option for small batches.

FDM material you can use for your prototyping process:

Big Rep PLA: Adapted to manufacture bigger prototypes

Let's start using 3D printing for rapid prototyping to boost your business

Prototypes are an important milestone in the creation of your product. You must evaluate the design and functionality of your product before proceeding to a more expensive stage of production. You require an effective quick prototyping technique! Fast prototyping enables engineers and designers to create and test their products more quickly and iterate as needed. Rapid prototyping will help you achieve your goals on time, whether you want to develop a scale model of a physical part to check the shape or visual aspect, try out an assembly, or build functional features and test them. Certain revolutionary technologies, like as additive manufacturing, enable you to manufacture high-fidelity prototypes.


Partner with an online 3D printing service for rapid prototyping!

Rapid prototyping is a powerful tool for product development that allows designers and engineers to quickly create and test physical prototypes of their designs. By using rapid prototyping, companies can reduce the time and cost of product development, while also improving the quality and functionality of their products. Whether you’re a startup or an established company, incorporating rapid prototyping into your product development process can help you stay competitive and bring innovative products to market faster.

With 10+ years of expertise in additive manufacturing for production and prototyping, Sculpteo also offers rigorous quality control. With our online 3D printing service and our advanced platform, you get professional 3D printing at your fingertips. Create a free account, upload your 3D files, select your material, technology, and post-processing options, and order online.

What are the advantages of rapid prototyping?

Is rapid prototyping the same as 3D printing?

Where is rapid prototyping used?

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