A prototype is one or several functional prototypes that are made based on product appearance drawings or structural drawings without opening a mold, and are used to check the rationality of appearance or structure. With the advancement of science and technology, the rapid development of CAD and CAM technology has provided better technical support for prototype manufacturing, making accurate manufacturing of prototypes possible. So what are the categories of prototypes and what is the comparison between different categories? Let’s take a look below.

Classification of prototypes

  1. Prototypes can be divided into: according to the production method:

(1) Manual prototype: The main workload is completed by hand.

(2) CNC prototype: Its main workload is completed with CNC machine tools. According to different equipment, CNC prototypes can be divided into:

a.RP prototype: It is mainly produced using laser rapid prototyping technology.

b.CNC prototyping: mainly prototyping produced by machining centers.

  1. Prototypes can be divided into: according to the materials used in production:

(1) Plastic prototypes: The raw materials are plastic, mainly prototypes of some plastic products, such as TVs, monitors, telephones, etc.

(2) Metal prototypes: The raw materials are aluminum-magnesium alloy and other metal materials, mainly prototypes of some high-end products. Such as laptop computers, high-end radio players, MP3 players, CD players, etc.

Comparison between RP prototype and CNC prototype

  1. The RP prototype should be characterized by its rapidity, but it is mainly formed through accumulation technology. Therefore, the RP prototype is generally relatively rough and has certain requirements for the wall thickness of the product. For example, if the wall thickness is too thin, it cannot be produced. The advantage of CNC prototype is that it can reflect the information expressed in the drawing very accurately, and the surface quality of CNC prototype is high, especially after surface spraying and silk screen printing, it is even more radiant than the product produced after opening the mold. Therefore, CNC prototype manufacturing has increasingly become the mainstream of prototype manufacturing.
  2. The use of rapid prototyping in the field of mechanical manufacturing. Due to the characteristics of RP technology, it has been widely used in the field of mechanical manufacturing, and is mostly used to produce single pieces and small batches of metal parts. Some special complex parts can generally be directly formed using RP technology because they only require a single production or a small batch of less than 50 pieces, with low cost and short cycle. The application of rapid prototyping technology in mold making can be divided into two types: direct molding and direct molding. Direct molding refers to using RP technology to directly accumulate and make molds. Direct molding is to first make rapid prototyping parts and then copy the parts. Get the mold you need.

There are many categories of prototype models. Although CNC prototypes occupy a mainstream position in the prototype manufacturing industry, prototypes with other processing methods cannot be ignored. There are always applicable places. With the continuous advancement of science and technology, prototype processing methods with wider application, higher efficiency and higher precision will inevitably appear.

PROTO MFG provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.

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