Rapid prototype

Topworks can help you design a prototype in the most efficient and cost-effective way. It’s much cheaper than developing a product from scratch, but if you make any changes, we can revise your design and create new prototypes quickly and efficiently. We can make small batch runs of your product or even full scale production runs, depending on your budget.

What is Rapid Prototype

The Rapid Prototype model, also known as the R.P., refers to the first or first batch of samples before the plastic mold is cut in the new product development stage.

The production process of the Rapid Prototype model is mostly manual, so it is widely called the “hand model.”

The Rapid Prototype is the first step to verify the viability of the product. It is the most direct and effective way to find the product design defects to improve the defects until the model has no problems.

Small batch tests are often required to verify the assembly of the product in future mass production.

Rapid prototyping is a layer processing technology and a kind of synthesis technology of CAD and CAM.

Unlike traditional machining, it can produce complex shapes with micro characteristics of the workpiece and dramatically reduce design time and costs.


Rapid prototyping has the following important features:

  •   It could create any complex 3D geometry entity. Due to the principle of discrete / stacking forming can simplify the very complex 3D manufacturing process to a 2d process. The more complex the part is, the more obvious it displays the superiority of RP technology. The RP technology is particularly suitable for complex cavity and complex surface manufacturing.
  •   The renewed part design and processing can be quickly obtained by modifying or restructuring a CAD model for just a few hours, displaying the outstanding characteristics of rapid manufacturing.
  •  Without any special fixture or tool, it could complete the complex manufacturing process for rapid tooling and prototype parts.
  •  Rapid prototyping technology has realized the two advanced targets of mechanical engineering: 1.the integration of material extraction (gas, liquid solid) process and manufacturing process, 2. the integration of design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM).
  •  Combined with Reverse technology, CAD, network, virtual reality, it becomes a powerful tool for new product development.


1. Appearance: It is mainly used to test the feasibility, market research, and exhibition and judge the mass production process such as product size, color, material, cost evaluation.

2.Structure: It is mainly used to check the internal assembly structure of the product, material strength analysis, performance testing, cost evaluation, new product investment, etc., thus greatly reducing the risk of direct mold building.

3. Feasibility of mass production: It is mainly used to test new products in small batches to improve the feasibility of mass production of new products and can be used for new product investment.

Therefore, rapid prototyping technology plays an increasingly important role in the manufacturing field and will impact this industry.

Main application:

Design and functional verification 

RP technology can quickly convert the CAD model into a real part, and this process can easily verify the rationality of the design idea and the product structure.

The Traditional method needs to complete a whole process from the drawing, process design, tooling to manufacturing with a long time and high cost.

Direct production without verification maybe invites a great loss for the initial design fault.

Verification for manufacturing, assembly, inspection, and market promotion

The design and manufacturing verification of automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical devices should adopt the RP method initially, which will greatly reduce the system design and manufacture difficulty.

For complex parts, The R.P. can be used to determine the optimum process of RP.

In addition, it is an effective communication way from design to manufacture, likes providing a few product samples for marketing promotion.

It has become a concurrent engineering and agile manufacturing technology approach.

The direct production of small batch and special complicated parts

The direct production of small batch and special complicated parts is used in many industries such as automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical devices. In this process, customers can request for customized products based on their needs. They can even choose the materials used for their product as well as its color and design.

In order to produce such products, it is necessary to use 3D printing technology because it allows companies to make customized parts quickly without wasting time or money on unnecessary processes such as tooling or molding which are often time-consuming and expensive processes for large batches of products made by traditional mass production methods.

Application areas:

  • Communication products,
  • Digital products,
  • Household appliances,
  • Medical equipment,
  • Aviation
  • Vehicles,
  • Car audio,
  • Instrumentation,
  • Toys and gifts.

Tips For Getting Started with Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototypes help to define problems, test ideas, and visualize solutions for projects.

Sketch your idea

The first thing to do when starting any project is to come up with an idea for what you want.

Rapid prototyping doesn’t have to involve 3D printing or coding. You can use pen and paper to create a rough sketch of what you want your product to look like. This can be enough to give potential customers an idea of what they’re getting into when they use your service or buy your product. If it’s not enough, then move onto the next step!

Make a prototype out of cardboard/paper/etc… A quick way to make a prototype out of paper is by cutting out shapes and gluing them together. The result will probably look pretty bad compared to something made by professionals but it does give people an idea of what you’re trying to build. For example, if you’re building a plastic water cup then this could be a mockup showing how it might look with information laid out.

If you choose to 3D print or CNC machine your prototype, we will proceed with the next step.

Start Off With a Budget in Mind with Rapid Prototyping

This will help you determine whether or not rapid prototyping is right for your project and what type of prototype you should make first. You’ll also want to consider whether or not it makes sense for your business model to allow for rapid prototyping costs up front or if it would be better if those costs were factored into later stages of development.

The cost of rapid prototyping varies widely depending on what materials you choose and how complicated the design is. For example, if you’re creating a simple 3D printed part then the cost will be significantly lower than if you’re creating an injection-molded plastic part using more advanced processes like stereolithography (SLA) or selective laser sintering (SLS).

Work With The Experts

Rapid prototyping isn’t something that you should try to do on your own. Find an expert that can help get your idea off the ground and into production quickly and easily. They will have access to all kinds of tools and equipment that can help you create your first prototype quickly and efficiently.

3D Printing

3D printing is essentially the process of depositing material onto a build platform layer by layer until an object emerges. There are many different technologies available today, but they all work on the same basic principle. It is a process of creating a tangible, physical representation of a design. It can range from a simple 3D printed model to a fully functional prototype that can be used for testing purposes.

CNC Machining

CNC machining is another great way to create prototypes quickly and cheaply without having to spend too much time on them until they’re ready for mass production. If you want something that’s stronger and bigger than 3D printing, CNC machinical machining is a good option. It allows you to create prototypes that are big,durable and functional, but still aren’t perfect and may require some additional work before they can be put into full-scale production.

modification for original design

Don’t be afraid to make changes as you go along – The purpose of rapid prototyping is not only to create an initial working model but also to learn from that model so that future iterations can improve upon it.

Rapid prototyping allows you to take an idea from concept all the way through production without ever having to invest in expensive tooling or molds. This means that changes are as simple as making them on the computer, rather than having to retool factories or change production methods entirely. For this reason, it’s important not to get too attached to your designs at this stage — they will likely change several times before finding their final form.

Prototype Molds & Experimental Mold

Prototype Molds

Prototype molds are used for short run production of plastics, rubber, and elastomers. These molds typically have a long life cycle and are used to produce a large number of parts. A prototype mold can be used for multiple products with minor changes to the mold cavity.

In order to evaluate a newly developed shape, prototype molds are needed to make samples of the new product that can be observed visually and/or touched. Injection molds can be made of mild steel, aluminum, or plastics (epoxy), as long as they are sufficiently strong and resistant to the high pressure and temperature of the injection process, since it is only necessary to mold the overall shape of the product, not the productivity of the mold.

In most cases, close tolerances are not required. The surface appearance (polish, engraving, flashing, etc.) is generally not an issue. The molded sample will just need a little longer to cool before it can be removed from the mold; therefore, cooling channels are not required. A mechanism for ejecting the film is also not required in many situations. You may not need much more than a few simple ejector pins, which are angled so that they can be manually pushed to eject the product at the parting line.

By using loose inserts in the mold, the product can be produced with features such as internal or external threads that can then be unscrewed by hand. You can also use loose inserts for odd shapes on product sides that would otherwise require side cores. The sidewalls could be machined with holes and simple openings after the molded piece has cooled. The above features can be removed from the prototype mold to simplify the stack and to reduce cost.

It may be feasible to mount the stacks in a common mold shoe if prototypes are frequently needed, thus reducing costs even further. For edge gating, a sprue and short runner system could be used, rather than a direct runner to the product. Once the gate has been cut manually, it will be reinstalled.

Experimental Mold

The purpose of this mold is different from a prototype mold: it’s intended for determining how the plastic will behave when it’s injected into a newly developed product. You can use some of the above-cited shortcuts to save money, but generally, a single-cavity molding would be closer to the original mold.

Gates need to be located in accordance with plans during production. You can use the mold to determine where and how to place the gates for a certain product. Molds must normally have the correct appearance. The flow of plastic is altered in thin walled products owing to finishes.

It is more important to maintain a stable mold temperature with some cooling as opposed to cooling efficiency in a production mold. For reducing the possibility of operator-caused variations in ejection (and cycle) times, it is recommended that manual product removal be replaced with an ejector mechanism instead.

Coupling of Prototype and Experimental Mold

The main objective of coupling of prototype and experimental molds is to reduce the costs associated with tooling and production. This applies in particular to molds that are inexpensive to create but nevertheless will be manufactured in large numbers to test for market acceptance. In such cases, full automation of the mold is desired, but achieving maximum efficiency in molding is not necessary, for example through better cooling, a better runner system, etc., or by adding special finishes or engravings. Moreover, shrinkage conditions can be determined using such molds.