At Star Prototype, we specialize in the production of high-quality, low cost rapid prototypes. With a range of technologies at our disposal, we are the perfect one stop shop for all your prototyping needs, and when you’re ready we also provide low-volume manufacturing up to hundreds of thousands of units. Learn more about prototyping below or send your CAD file to our international team of experts to get a free quote.
What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid Prototyping is often used to produce samples of parts and products for engineering and sales models, as they are a great way to test form, fit and function.
Benefits of Prototypes
- Show your customers and investors a model of your product
- Demonstrate the appearance, dimensions and features of your product
- Test your design for its suitability
- Save time and money by identifying and reducing design flaws
- Improve and streamline the production process
- Reduce your work load when the time comes to manufacture
- Create multiple versions with different colors, surface textures, etc.
Our prototyping services include CNC machining, vacuum casting, plastic injection molding, metal 3D printing, SLA and SLS.
Using our imported 3, 4 and 5-axis CNC machining centers, our skilled machinists can make CNC machined prototypes using a wide range of plastics, metals, and modeling boards. Many customers turn to CNC machining to have their prototypes produced out of more durable materials for functional testing.
Polyurethane Vacuum Castings
Polyurethane vacuum casting involves a multi-step process.
- First a master mold is made of a durable material. Master molds can be customer-supplied or made using traditional prototyping methods including CNC machining, 3D metal printing, stereolithography (SLA) or selective laser sintering (SLS).
- The master mold is placed inside of a casting box, which is then filled with liquid silicone rubber. Once the silicone is cured, it is split open and the master removed. There is now an empty cavity conforming to a reverse image of the master. This cavity is then filled with the casting polyurethane (PU) of your choice. A vacuum is applied to the silicone mold, which effectively pulls the PU into any voids inside the mold.
- Silicone molds are usually durable enough to make up to 20 or more copies of the original with excellent fidelity.
3D Metal Printed Prototypes
3D metal printing is an additive manufacturing process that uses a high-powered laser to melt and fuse successive layers of powdered metal into three-dimensional solid parts. The advantage of the process is that the more complex or feature rich the component, the more economical the process becomes.
3D metal parts are fully dense with complex internal features that cannot be made with traditional machining alone. Lattice structures can easily be incorporated which preserve strength in critical areas while reducing unnecessary weight. This technique is especially suited for advanced engineering prototypes in aerospace, automotive and medical applications. Prototypes can be made in as little as one day in stainless steel, aluminum and titanium.
SLA & SLS Rapid Prototypes
SLA & SLS rapid prototypes are ideal for rapid, one-off prototypes. SLA prototyping is a process whereby UV light cures a liquid photopolymer into a solid plastic prototype, layer by layer. SLS (selective laser sintering) uses a high-powered laser to fuse powderized nylon, one layer at a time to form a three-dimensional solid.
Prototyping to Production
At Star, we also specialize in low-volume production of 100,000+ pieces depending on process. Our low-volume manufacturing options ensure that we can take you through the entire journey from prototype to bridge tooling to production. When you speak to our engineers about your prototype ask them for a free quote for production as well so you can get an idea of the savings.