Prototype Tooling: What Option Is Best For You?

As we all know that production tooling can get very expensive at several points, so here is one way which can easily minimize the cost and investments for the future launching of the new products, the way is known as Prototype Tooling. It provides a cushion to the manufacturer, as in the beginning, every manufacturer has a rough idea of his products, so by using the option of prototype tooling one can get a better design and can easily accomplish his expectations for the product. A prototype is an early model, sample structures, experiments, and, known as the process before finalizing the work or product.

 There are some prototype tooling options available are: 

  • 1. Stereolithography (SLA)
  • 2. Selective laser sintering (SLS)
  • 3. Urethane cast
  • 4. Hard tooling
  • 5. Soft tooling

So, here arises a common question that:-  Which option is best for you? So, you will discover all the pros and cons after reading below:- 

  • Stereolithography (SLA):-  Nowadays, Stereolithography is one of the most commonly used techniques in the world of manufacturing. Its working process consists of a high beam laser which makes the liquid resin hard. It ultimately helps in making the desired redefined 3-D shape. Precisely, the process of transforming liquid resin/photopolymer into a 3-D plastic shape solid in a layered format by using photopolymerization.
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS):- It is very much similar to SLA, it is an adaptive manufacturing process that uses small polymer particles. A high beam of laser molds small powder-like polymer particles into a solid 3-D model. This is a trusted process by the manufacturer as well as engineers. As it works on the principle of, low cost and high production rate. 

So, nowadays we see rapid growth in the machinery sectors, software, it also helps SLS to make its 3-D printing more accessible and achievable to more and more companies to use and take advantage of this tool.

  • Urethane cast:- Urethane casting is used to make different types of plastic items, the material of plastic can be bendable or stretchable like rubber or you can make rigid plastic material by using urethane. The manufacturing of urethane cast is of low cost, high-quality, and low volume products. Perfection is the key which you will get, fine finishing in a standard quick time with a low price tag.

There are pointers that we have to keep in mind while using Urethane:- 

  • Urethane is highly reactive to moisture. As only if it gets in contact with water kept in the air, it will destroy your urethane.
  • An exothermic reaction occurs when it comes in contact with heat, so let it dry for enough period.
  • You have to keep in your mind that your mood of urethane will shrink when it transforms from liquid to solid-state.
  • Hard tooling:– The method of tooling generally used to make tools of durable metals like nickel, steel alloys are known as” hard tooling”. Injection molding is the primary method in which hard tooling is being used. It is used to make high-volume products that can be used in the long run and are highly durable but time-consuming to make and more expensive as well.
  • Soft tooling:- Soft tooling method is often used with urethane cast molding. It provides low and medium-volume products with flexibility and speed. Silicone is the primary tool used in cast urethane molding. It is the best method used in making complex patterns with smooth finishing, which might take much time and money to produce by any other way.

So, after reading the content mentioned above you will get a clear answer for your question and will ultimately help you in choosing the right option.

It is used to check each practicality of the tools, method, and complex designs and also the exactitude of the elements it capitulates. It is intended to acquire long life and durability of the product, so manufacturing elements in a larger number may occasionally lower the cost per-per-part. But looking on the other side of it, this type of tooling has a short lifespan and can only be used in the short run. Keeping this in mind, they are generally used for production for parts of the prototype and the elements having low volume.

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