In world of industry, the future has arrived with new technology that appears to come from a sci-fi movie. Called rapid prototyping, it is now possible to turn a design concept into a 3-D model which results in significantly less time for making mock-ups as well as fewer costly mistakes resulting from design flaws.

Also called computer numerically controlled machining, this technology has now made it possible to create 3-D replicas of concepts in a matter of hours or days instead of months or years. This is accomplished by taking computer generated designs, translating them into a language the machine can understand, and then using various materials to generate a prototype of the concept.

There are various forms of this type of machine currently in use in industry as well as for use by small businesses. Stereolithography, for example, uses liquid acrylic polymer synthetic compounds and ultra violet rays to layer cross-sections of a design in this way generating a model that can be evaluated by design teams.

Another popular option is fused deposition modeling. With this equipment a workable model can actually be generated. Selective Laser Sintering, on the other hand, forms solid objects from a metal powder that is heated and bonded. This one is usually used in creating smaller metal objects.

Although mock-ups created are generally not working, mechanical models, they serve a valuable service in reducing the time it takes to go from design to sale. Additionally, when the need for financing is a consideration, having a 3-D replica to present to potential investors or lending institutions can increase the likelihood of receiving the money needed to complete a project.

In today’s marketplace timing is everything. The longer it takes to go from design to production the more likely it is that individuals and businesses will miss key marketing opportunities. With the creation of rapid prototyping, lag time has been significantly reduced which is paying off big for entrepreneurs who understand the importance of this philosophy.

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