Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping

And now the rubber (or plastic) hits the road.

When designing any part, computer analysis can only take you so far. To truly understand the functional performance of your design it helps to hold a prototype of the part in your hands and even plug it into place alongside other parts it will live with. In the past creating prototypes was costly and time consuming, but no more thanks to rapid prototyping technologies. At Melet we can employ a variety of methods to quickly and inexpensively create a prototype of your design, and your Melet service representative will help you determine which process is right for your project and budget.

Our prototyping options include:

  • FDM Technology (Fused Deposition Modeling)

    With in-house rapid prototyping capability, our FDM service is built around a Stratasys Fortus 250mc with Insight Software. With it we can produce prototypes that are both durable and dimensionally stable.

    Advantages/Specifications:

    • Material: ABS
    • Build envelope: 10" x 10" x 12"
    • Minimum layer thickness: .007"
    • Part Accuracy: [+/- .005"] or [+/-.0015 inch/inch] whichever is greater
    • Numerous color options
  • SLS Technology (Selective Laser Sintering)

    Perfect for prototype applications requiring mechanical features such as snap fits, SLS is a 3D printing process where a laser is used to build three dimensional parts by selectively sintering powdered material to create a solid structure.

    Advantages/Specifications:

    • Can create prototypes out of powdered nylon materials and even metals like titanium or steel.
    • Glass fibre filled nylon materials available for added strength
  • SLA Technology (Stereolithography)

    SLA prototyping is a good choice when speed is important (functional prototypes can be made in a day or less) or the prototype needs to be strong enough to stand up to additional machining.

    Advantages/Specifications:

    • Delivers highly accurate prototypes and good surface finishes
    • Flexible design options – prototypes can be produced using a wide variety of materials, surface finishes and build sizes
  • Cast Urethane/RTV Tooling (Room Temperature Vulcanization)

    With curing times as short as 30 minutes, RTV Tooling is an excellent option whenever a short production run is desired prior to the injection mold build. The rapid production time makes it ideal for proving out a design concept within a short timeframe prior to production.

    Advantages/Specifications:

    • SLA parts are typically made fractionally oversized to compensate for rubber shrinkage
    • Wide range of material properties available including rigid and flexible parts from 10 Shore A to 80 Shore D
  • PolyJet Technology

    Combining high resolution inkjet technology with UV curable materials, this precision 3D printing process is capable of producing prototypes with exceptional final-product realism. The technology's unparalleled accuracy makes it especially useful for developing prototypes that feature complex shapes, intricate details or exacting surfaces such as smooth surfaces or thin walls.

    Advantages/Specifications:

    • Unmatched layer/build resolution of 16 micron per layer
    • Elongation at break of 20% enables snap fit and functional features
    • Ability to incorporate color and diverse material properties into a single part
    • Wide array of material options including rigid, clear, translucent, rubber-like, and simulated polypropylene