Home – Plastic Prototype Services
Our Outstanding Plastic Prototype Manufacturing Capability
ABS prototyping is one of the most common plastic prototypes. At RapidDone, it takes up to more than 50% of the total amount of plastic prototypes. It has wild applications and the typical products are ABS covers, ABS housings, ABS keyboard, etc.
RapidDone can offer an acrylic plastic prototype with high quality. We can create the part shape based on your 3D drawing, no match now complicated it is. We can also have the polishing capability for acrylic material and get the glossy clear surface for you.
Our optical prototype is wildly used in the lighting industry. The typical optical material at our factory are Polycarbonate and PMMA material, both can be created into clear parts with high efficiency at 85% above. We can manufacture Optical products to provide a great way to make an identity for your brand.
RapidDone can make a rubber prototype for you. We can offer flexible OEM services by following your drawings. Yet, the price is competitive in the market.
RapidDone is also a professional at a silicon prototype with different kinds of properties. We produce our silicon parts in high-quality, very durable, and affordable costs. Our outstanding silicone prototyping products can be made from an injection mold or a die-cut mold with different thicknesses and colors.
Custom Plastic prototype-The Ultimate FAQ Guide
Designing a new part is a complicated process, and there are many problems to overcome. It is necessary to have a prototype stage that will ultimately determine whether your design is good for production. Therefore, the prototype is so important that every industry will need it.
Today in this article, we cover everything and work out a comprehensive guide for plastic prototypes manufacturing.
If you are a prototype designer or a buyer who wants to know well about the plastic rapid prototype, I suggest you to keep reading as this will help you to be an expert.
What are the benefits of a plastic prototype?
The Prototype is products that are visible and touchable. It can intuitively reflect the whole creativity of industrial product designers in the form of a physical object. This helps the designer to understand more about their design and finish the design job perfectly.
Once a design is finalized, it is necessary to make some prototype samples first.
In summary, plastic prototyping has the following advantages.
√ Verify the appearance and industry design
Industrial design is the first step for product design. To make a good industrial product, the most important thing is to make sure the appearance is exquisite. As the prototype is a physical object which can intuitively reflect the designer’s creativity, so it is easy for us to verify whether the design looks perfect and match the design trend.
√ Finalize the structure design
By having a prototype sample on hand, it helps structure engineers to check out the design defect and improve structure design accordingly.
√ Verify function
Once we build up the sample and power it up, we can check the whole function and operation. Therefore, it can verify if we can find any improved room in this regard.
√ Avoid the risk of tooling modification
Once we have a prototype, we can check out all potential design problems before tooling. By doing this, we can reduce the risk of tool modification.
√ Help for the exhibition
As the plastic prototype is similar to a real product, so we can get a prototype at a quick timetable for an exhibition. At the same time, we can use it to make a product catalog and sales ads for marketing work.
√ Direct sales with plastic prototype parts
As for some industries such as medical instruments and equipment products, we can make the prototype product to be the same as the tooled product. Thus, we can put the prototype directly into the market in a short time and take up the market quickly.
What are the types of plastic prototypes?
There are many types of plastic prototypes.
Defining it by material, there are acrylic, polycarbonate, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polyethylene, nylon prototyping, and more.
Defining by machining method, there are CNC plastic machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting prototype, and more.
What is the difference between plastic injection parts and prototype plastic parts?
We will talk about the difference between the three parts: quality, cost, and lead time.
The first part is quality.
If we use the CNC machining way to make a prototype, then there is not much difference. Both ways can produce high-quality parts.
The other two parts are cost and lead time.
It needs a plastic injection molding to make plastic injection parts, this will cost high at more than $3000. What is more, the tool manufacturing progress is complicated, it normally takes more than 4weeks to finish it. Thus, plastic injection molding is a high-cost manufacturing way with long lead time. This way is only good for a high volume order.
The rapid plastic prototype, on the other hand, it refers to no tool. It only takes material costs and labor costs. Therefore, this way is the best option for a low volume order.
How to make a rapid plastic prototype with CNC machining Way?
Firstly, the programmer engineer analyzes the 3D drawing. In this progress, they work out the programming language that controls the CNC machining machine or a 3D printer.
Secondly, the operator put the CNC programming code into the machine to cut material. After this step, we can get the original shape of a plastic prototyping part.
At this stage, as the previous plastic prototype has a lot of marks and burrs on the surface, we need to send it to the hand-made department for polishing.
Next, we need to go to the painting department for surface treatments.
After that, we can get all separate parts and do a final assembly. In this step, we need to make sure the fits are good.
At last, we have a good QA check for our rapid prototype product. Both fits and appearance need to be checked carefully. Once the test result is good, then we can pack and ship it out to customers.
What are the common plastic materials for prototype manufacturing?
A lot of plastic material can be used and there are mainly below types:
√ ABS Material
ABS is the most common plastic material for a plastic prototype. It has good impact resistance and temperature resistance. As it is good for glue, so it is very convenient if you want to assembly one ABS part on another plastic part with glue.
√ Polycarbonate material
This is a clear material with high transparency, but it also has good impact resistance and high-temperature resistance. Thus, Polycarbonate is the first option for a clear plastic prototype.
√ Acrylic Material
This material is also called plexiglass, it is a little easy to crack under big force impact, but it has the highest transparency. Due to this advantage, it is the best option for optical prototype building.
√ TPE and TPU Material
It is a soft material and the hardness range from 30 degrees to 90 degrees. Therefore, it is good to be used for remote control and other rubber pads samples.
√ POM material Material
This material has high hardness and high density, so it is good for making gear prototype.
√ PPS and PEEK Material
The advantage is that they can stand high temperature at about 200 degrees. Thus, they are suitable to build some coffee machines or water heaters prototype. However, they are very expensive, and the price is about 50 times higher than the normal ABS material. Therefore, it is not as popular as other plastic materials.
√ Nylon Material
This material has high strength and good abrasion resistance material, so it is good for gear prototyping. But the disadvantage is that it is not easy to be fixed by glue, so we have to be careful during the big size prototype manufacturing.
What is the common plastic prototyping methods?
To build a plastic prototype, there are a lot of manufacturing technologies. However, the best four ways are CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting, and rapid injection molding.
√ CNC machining
CNC machining is the most common way for plastic manufacturing. It uses a variety of different sized tools to carve out a 3D model from a solid block of plastic material by a lathe machine or a milling machine.
The main materials for this processing are ABS, PC, PMMA, PA, POM, PA + fiberglass, and POM. Among them, ABS is the most common plastic material. However, the density of ABS raw materials in a plastic sample is lower than the one used for injection-molded products ABS. Besides, Polycarbonate and Acrylic are used for processing transparent parts.
Compared with 3D printing parts, CNC machined parts are stronger. Therefore, this method is good for some structures that are relatively simple, strong, and quick turnaround.
√ Vacuum Casting
Vacuum casting is also called silicon casting.
Below is the normal manufacturing procedure, it takes three steps.
Firstly, we need to build a silicon mold by using the original sample either from a 3D printer or CNC machining.
Secondly, we fill the liquid plastic material into the silicone mold we made in the last step.
Lastly, we bake them into a backing machine at temperature 60 ℃-80 ℃ for several hours. After that, we can get the plastic part which is the same as the original one.
As for materials, vacuum casting is good for an array of materials. It is a liquid PU material with the name of ABS-like or Polycarbonate (PC)-like….and more.
Besides, it covers from opaque to transparent, as well as many colors.
As you know, undercut is a big issue for plastic injection, but we can easily fix this problem with vacuum casting. Thus, this processing technology is more suitable for products with more complex structures, smaller sizes, and fewer quantities.
Each mold can produce around 25 prototypes, and the turnaround time is as fast as one week.
In a word, it is a good way to actualize your design into a plastic prototype, especially for the quantity from 10sets to 100 sets.
√ 3D printing
3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology.
There are three most popular options for producing prototype plastic parts: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).
FDM 3D printing is a technology by using an extrusion process to deposit plastic material in a layer-by-layer fashion. It is the most widely used form of 3D printing, a lot of people even create FDM 3D-printers at home for personal use.
Overall, FDM is a cheap way but not so good for surface finish quality. Thus, it will need more post-processing if aesthetics is important.
It is a technology by using a high-powered laser to sinter powder together into a 3D model. The most common material is Nylon. Compared with FDM, the quality is much better.
This type of plastic prototyping is more flexible and durable.
Instead of using filament, SLA 3D printing utilizes plastic resin materials to make plastic prototypes. This process is widely used for various prototyping purposes, especially within the medical, dental, and consumer goods space.
Its advantage is that it can print complex parts at a fast speed. However, the disadvantage is that the printed material is relatively fragile.
Therefore, it is good for a cosmetic check but not a good option for a functional plastic part.
√ Rapid injection molding
Rapid Injection molding refers to a faster and more cost-effective tooling compared to traditional steel molds. The molded parts are low-volume injection molded parts, it is ideal for the precision plastic prototype with Quality for around a 10K shot life.
How to handle large size prototyping plastic parts?
For most of the plastic prototype parts, the size is small. When dimensions do not exceed the machine processing stroke, it is very easy to handle.
However, we sometimes encounter some large-scale plastic prototypes. The size is too large that we can’t run them into the machine.
For such big size plastic parts, we normally consider two manufacturing ways: 3D printing and CNC machining. Compared with CNC machining, most of the 3D printer has shorter proceeding strokes and higher machining costs. Therefore, the best option will be CNC machining for big size parts. We normally have two handling ways for it.
First, we should consider the whole piece of processing. By doing this, we need to make sure we have a large CNC machining with big machining stroke. Our CNC machining strokes can reach 2000mm, and we have hired e, so experienced operators can easily make larger prototypes.
If we do not have such a big machine, then we will have to consider to disassemble the plastic parts into pieces for machining. After that, we need to splice the parts back together. But this will lower the strength of part and the performance may not be as good as one full piece.
In this progress, it is necessary to pay attention to the selection of materials, and we should choose the one with good glue performance such as ABS plastic material.
Do not worry about the cosmetic of splicing location, as that area can be sprayed with painting and fully be covered by painting.
How much does it cost to make a plastic rapid prototype?
It is difficult to suggest an exact price. It depends on some basic parameters such as MOQ and manufacturing way and design.
Normally, we can consider using 3d printing for a small size plastic part with a simple feature. The price can be very cheap for just under $15, but it might increase to be $30-$50 if we change to use CNC machining.
However, there is some on-line quotation system like xometry.com, you can upload your 3D drawing and get your quotation out in one minute.
Can I make a plastic prototype by myself?
Yes, you can.
The best way is to use a 3D printer. To do this, there are three steps.
The first step, work out your design sketch on paper with a detailed requirement.
Next step, create a 3D drawing by using 3d design software such as SolidWorks or ProE. Once the 3d drawing is done, export it to be .stl-format to get ready for printing.
At last, you can print it with a 3D printer if you have. If not, you can get one one-line 3d printer shop near you. This can be very fast and only take a couple of days.
What is the plastic prototype finishes?
The finish is the last step for prototype parts. There are three common types below.
Polishing is the most important process for plastic prototyping manufacturing. This process shall help you remove the spur and have a smooth surface, that is to say, it is the key to get good cosmetic prototype plastic parts.
Painting is the most common finish. However, customers are required to provide a Pantone number or a color sample for this job.
√ UV coating
The UV coating is also an important finish. During this progress, a worker sprays a layer of transparent oil on the surface of the prototype part and bake it with ultraviolet light. Eventually, it adds an additional protective layer to the painting.
How long it takes to build a plastic prototype?
Well, it depends.
But it is usually a short lead time counting by days. For example, we can typically get it done within 5days for simple parts. However, it might take some more days if you have a high requirement for the surface.
No matter what, take it with less than 10days for most of the prototype plastic part orders.
Which types of CAD files do RapidDone accepts for the sample build?
The best file format we accept is .stl format, this can be run into the machines directly.
However, we have an experienced team and we can convert all your file formats, all we need is your original design file.
How does RapidDone control quality for our plastic prototypes?
At RapidDone, we have an experienced team for the quality monitor from material to the final finished parts.
First, we have an IQC team to check all the raw plastic material from the outside material supplier.
During our manufacturing progress, we have a production QC team. They follow up and inspect the parts at the production line.
At last, after the prototyping parts are fully done, our QA team have a full quality check before we pack them up.
In short, know about the whole manufacturing progress and find the right manufacturing technology is important to the success of your plastic prototype. I hope the above helps you.
Talk to us if you have any query for a plastic project or other rapid prototyping services, our team can come back to you with a professional answer.