What Manufaturing Method is Best for Prototyping and Production?
Throughout the development process, prototypes are benchmarks. They indicate whether the design process is moving in the right direction.
At each stage, it’s important to determine the goals of the prototypes and which prototyping technique is most efficient.
Conceptual and/or Semi-Functional Prototypes
can be produced within hours/days and are essential for the early ideation process.
are strongly recommended prior to pre-production prototyping to ensure all last-minute improvements have been incorporated.
are equivalent to the final production parts to allow for final testing.
Conceptual and Semi-Functional Prototypes for the Ideation Process
During the ideation and design process, it’s important to prototype various conceptual designs in rapid succession.
Conceptual prototyping can either be done overnight in-house at IDT in plastic or overnight in metal at one of IDT’s prototype vendors.
Semi-functional prototypes can also either be prepared in-house at IDT (combination of plastic and metal) or within a few days utilizing IDT’s vendors.
Before ASTM Testing
Fully functional prototypes are necessary to ensure that the design functions as required. For this stage, 2D technical prints are required. The fully functional prototype can then be used under the normal operating conditions it would be exposed to.
This is the last step during which additional improvements and/or corrections can be made before the pre-production and eventual production process begins.
Pre-Production Prototype and
Eventual Final Production
Pre-production prototypes are produced following all the production guidelines of the final device. However, a small number of samples are needed for FDA required testing or training or for a limited beta testing site.
Once FDA approval has been granted, normal production begins.