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 a physical sample of a design concept. It can be used to evaluate form, fit and function and to test out new and innovative ideas.
Prototypes are often made of less robust, and therefore less expensive, materials. And “rapid” is critical to many of our clients because they need to produce a physical part quickly in order to validate a design or to capture a fleeting sales opportunity.
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.
CNC machining is ideal for making prototypes from engineering plastics or metal and which look and feel like production made parts. They are able to achieve tighter tolerances with better surface finishes than other prototyping methods. Our machined prototypes have all the features needed to make a fully functional part, including tapped and threaded holes and precisely flat mating faces.
3D Metal Printed Prototypes
3D metal printing is an advanced, next-generation additive manufacturing process for making complex parts with features that cannot be produced by any other method. Parts are created on a special machine layer-by-layer, and this unique process lets you – the product designer – add internal features like conformal cooling channels and lattice structures to reduce weight while preserving strength. Because the process is completely computer controlled, you are also able to modify features quickly and easily without additional expense, allowing you to test different versions of a prototype fast. Prototypes can be made in stainless steel, aluminum and titanium.
When combined with our CNC machining and finishing services, we have everything you need to create sophisticated prototypes for applications in medical, automotive, aerospace and other demanding industries.
SLA & SLS Rapid Prototypes
SLA & SLS are two of the original 3D printing processes. These methods are ideal for making rapid, one-off prototypes in plastic. These prototypes can be used as-is, or to function as master patterns for polyurethane vacuum casting. Like with other 3D additive manufacturing processes, you can add complex internal features that can’t be made conventionally.
Polyurethane Vacuum Castings
Polyurethane vacuum casting is a rapid prototyping technique suited for making up to 30 copies of a master pattern from a silicone rubber mold. The level of detail and surface finish of the copies is dependent on the quality of the master pattern. You choose the casting compound to match your design idea – hard or soft, colored or clear. We even offer overmolding to combine two or more different types of material in a single finished casting.
We have a team of specialists who are experts at preparing master samples for casting. Samples can be provided by you or we can make them using CNC machining or one of our 3D printing services such as DMLM, SLA or SLS.
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.