Checklist for Rapid Prototyping / Tooling

Image of a prototype thin-walled aluminum castingEach of the following points has a unique impact on your available choices for a successful prototyping program.

Things to remember as you venture into Rapid Prototyping/Rapid Tooling:

  1. Part geometry
    • Establishes the most appropriate process given the part configuration.
  2. Part features
    • Which features can be cast and which will require secondary operations.
    • Can your choice of prototyping process support all features?
    • Can your choice of casting processes support these features?
  3. Quantity
    • How many parts need to be produced?
    • Will the selected Tooling options support this quantity?
    • Can the quantity needed be produced cost-effectively in the time available?
  4. Casting Process
    • What is the best casting option?
    • What Rapid Tooling options are compatible?
    • Is casting the best way to produce this part?
    • Do part configuration or quantity issues drive me toward a machined hog-out? A “quick die”?
    • Does the casting facility understand my needs?
  5. Changes
    • What is the likelihood of changes after initial parts are produced.
    • Will my choice of process support changes?
    • Will the simple changes to part configuration force me to start over?