The Value of Prototype Machining


Do you have an idea for an exciting new product? Perhaps you are thinking of making improvements on existing products. This can take a great deal of research and development and prototype machining can be highly beneficial. Let’s take a closer look at the process, to discover the many benefits it can provide today’s businesses.

What is a Prototype?

Prototypes are working models of new ideas, concepts and designs. In other words, if you are thinking of creating a new product, you may want to manufacture some test samples first. This gives you an idea of what to expect and you can test the prototype to see just how well it works. It could be a new gear, mold, bolt, housing or any number of things which require machining. Some working prototypes may be created in clear plastic so you can view internal parts. This can greatly facilitate testing.

Why Use Prototype Machining?

Suppose you plan to produce a special part like a bolt or shaft, and it will be used in thousands of applications. You will need to manufacture thousands of these parts and you want to make sure they are perfect for the job. It makes sense to produce a small run so you can test them to see how well they function. This will help you avoid mistakes or errors which can lead to costly changes or even product liability lawsuits.

How Are Prototypes Different from the Actual Product?

There are three basic ways prototypes can differ from the finished product. For example:

Production methods – you may want to see what will happen when you mill, lathe or grind a specific material. In fact, you might not wish to use the most sophisticated methods to get a good idea of its strength or other properties. In other words, high tolerance may be necessary for the actual product but not for some types of testing procedures and this can be a cost effective way to prototype.

Material – to save money you can sometimes produce metal parts with plastic or other cheaper materials, when making a prototype.

Less detail – you can often save time and money when you produce facsimiles with very little detail. This is especially true if you are still in the design stage and expecting changes.

Should You Perform Your Own Prototype Machining?

Many companies today choose to outsource prototyping for a number of reasons. For example, a good service can assist you with the design process and has all the right materials and equipment for the job. This can help you save a great deal of time, money and resources.