Before a design is finalized, the product must go through several tests. While prototyping a product concept, designers can identify and correct several flaws, which ensure the finalization and mass production of the product.
One way businesses quickly turn concept ideas into a working product is through rapid prototyping. Designers use 3D printers to create three-dimensional prototypes, which significantly reduce the testing times.
Rapid Prototyping: What is it?
In rapid prototyping, designers use 3D printers, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, or injection molds to create a model for the new product. They’re created to either replicate all the functions of the product or test a specific function.
To test the prototypes, they need to be inexpensive and can be created rapidly as further models will be needed as the product is modified per the product concept. With the help of rapid prototyping, developers can even test simulations and designs.
While rapid prototypes have many benefits, they also have some weaknesses. Here, we’ll discuss the important ones.
Disadvantages of Rapid Prototyping
1. Not Enough Room for Analysis
While rapid prototypes provide a fabricated model of the new product, it has its limitations. Developers can be distracted from focusing on the whole project by analyzing only the prototype that typically doesn’t cover every detail of the product. It’s easy for them to overlook an alternative and inexpensive solution. Also, missing out on a specification or function of the product can make the product a failure.
2. Customer Confusion
Once the prototype reaches the customers, there is every possibility that an average person wouldn’t understand the actual purpose of the prototype. Without realizing that it needs further modifications, design changes, or polishing, an average consumer can easily mistake it for the final product along with its design and performance.
3. Not Very Useful for Complex Products
For optimum testing, you need the prototype to perform very close to the final product in its functionality and appearance. If the prototype doesn’t closely replicate the original product, designers won’t be able to test it fully, which is why it’s not a useful option for complex products, especially those with moving parts like an engine.
4. The Upfront Cost is High
Due to extensive testing and analysis, you’d need more than one prototype to create your final product. The more the resting requirements, the more prototypes would be needed, which will, in turn, increase the cost. As rapid prototyping is a costly process, thorough testing can increase your costs further, which is why it’s necessary to adopt efficient testing techniques.
Whether going for rapid testing or not depends on your business needs and the type of product you want to design. By weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of rapid testing, you can make an informed decision for your product.
For optimum testing and designing of your product, it’s best to outsource it to a company that provides rapid prototyping services. At Connekt, LLC, our professional experts provide engineering design services in Auburn to companies looking to turn their product design concepts into the final product. If you’re looking to hire our services, feel free to contact us today.