What is rapid prototyping?
Prototyping a product used to take months and cost tens of thousands of dollars. 3D printers, like you might find in a local makerspace or even a library, cut that down to hours and pennies.
When businesses are coming up with new design ideas or product, they often look to prototypes and scale models to test out their vision in the real world. While advanced, manufacturer-ready prototypes still cost a lot in terms of dollars and days. 3D printers have made rapid prototyping and creating proof of concept scale models accessible to even the most bootstrapped startup, student or budding artist.
Even with today’s admittedly rudimentary 3D “consumer level” printing technology, a model or a part can be turned from a digital design into a physical thing quickly and for just a few cents per gram of media needed to print. Quick real-world testing helps refine the design and planning phases of the product cycle, whatever the 3D printed model may be.