If you are familiar with the manufacturing industry, you must be aware that several prototypes are required almost everyday in this industry to bring out new products and machines regularly. There a million of idea floating around in the market. Although most of them do not make the cut, the ones that do are needed to be developed quickly and as cost effectively as possible. So, where does rapid tooling come in this whole situation? Well, rapid tooling comes into the picture when the prototypes have been designed and now required to be created. The typical rapid prototyping techniques such as casting, 3D printing and subtractive manufacturing are some of the methods used in extensively in the market.
What is Rapid Tooling (RT)?
The rapid tooling is thus, basically a process in which the methods of rapid prototyping are combined with the conventional tooling practices. This process produces the molds for creating parts of a functional model at a much faster pace using the data from an already designed CAD file. RT acts a bridge between producing low-cost models quickly and a large-scale manufacturing. It uses the rapid prototyping model to fabricate a tool using RP as the base pattern or directly copies from the process itself. A limited number of models can be created this way for evaluation, testing or trial purposes.
Advantages of RT
The most obvious benefit of using rapid tooling is that the cost of production of prototypes can be significantly reduced in comparison to conventional prototyping methods. It can also be more accurate and precise as it directly copies from the data fed into its system. This is also the reason why all the models created using rapid tooling are uniform in nature. Another significant benefit of using RT is the possibility of using variety of base materials.
The products can be made using different manufacturing materials such as resin, magnesium, etc. in less time. This can give a better idea on what material would work the best for the projected purpose. The costs of creating the prototypes can easily be overcome from large-scale production demand of the final product. It should be also noted that computer-based prototyping allows greater room for modifications and improvements of any found defects.
The defects are quickly found and can be easily dealt with as the machines only operates based on the data provided to it.
Even though there have been major breakthroughs in the field of prototyping and moulding, the current techniques are not in pace with the rapidly growing needs and demands. RT are still limited to only few parts of a functional model and sometimes work very slowly with complex designs.
With these benefits and few drawbacks, it can be understood why RT and RP techniques area major requirement in the present manufacturing industry. With more development coming our way, the constraints are hopes to be dealt with and have a more precise and efficient functionality. They can be used for variety of purposes.