Functional Prototypes

Utilising 3D printing for functional prototyping enables enhanced tweaking of designs, proving an invaluable tool for engineers. 

Where 3D printing makes the difference

Before committing to expensive mass production runs, building a functional prototype is a sensible and necessary stage of the development process.

3D printing allows for tweaking and design reviews with parts in hand where it would be too late once the production run had started and a lot cheaper than creating the tooling required.

Customisable to your needs

Using 3D printing we can build parts in a wide range of materials to mimic the final end-use material for both functionality and surface finish. Snap-fits, screw threads, flexible lugs and locking devices can all be built in to the parts.

This allows you to test the full functionality of either individual parts or complete product design mock-ups.

Graphites approach

We know how critical accuracy and reliability of parts are to your projects.

Thats why we regularly build mechanical test parts and verify data with a tensile testing machine, ensuring that our published data figures are accurate and repeatable. This process keeps our machines fine tuned for peak performance.

CASE STUDIES

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Functional Prototypes

Building a functional prototype is crucial before mass production. 3D printing enables cost-effective design reviews and tweaks. It offers various materials to mimic end-use products, allowing full functionality testing of parts or complete designs.

3D printing excels in producing customized or limited-run parts and products. This digital manufacturing method eliminates the need for traditional tooling and setup, potentially reducing costs through added complexity or lower part count. We create strong, lightweight parts with high definition and built-in functionality, such as screw threads and sealing grooves, eliminating post-processing. The technology offers design flexibility for bespoke versions across various applications, enabling airtight or resistant parts.

To form complex mandrels for composite tooling, materials such as SR-30 (FDM) and DMX 100 (SLA) are starting to gain traction and, with the right knowledge and experience, these materials can perform wonders. SR-30 is a sacrificial mandrel and DMX is an extraction mandrel with some unique properties.

Costing

The cost to build a tool is generally determined by the size of the tool, not its complexity. As an example, an iPhone sized tool would cost around £30, whereas an iPad-sized tool would be £240.

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