Whether you know it or not, you are living in a golden age of concept modelling. In decades gone by, if you had a product idea, or were involved in product development, you had a problem. You needed to prove your concept before refining designs, getting funding, or getting customer buy-in. That meant either many detailed drawings, specs and charts, or lengthy timelines for prototyping.
Today, 3D printing changes all that. Depending on your product, you can go from napkin drawing this morning, to functional prototype this afternoon.
And that fact forms the basis of the many benefits your business can enjoy from concept modelling powered by additive manufacturing
1. Determine Manufacturability
Physical prototypes, often made with the same of similar materials as production parts, fosters the sort of tangible feedback that’s difficult to get using traditional methods. Even when compared to computer-aided design, flaws, design issues and production requirements are far easier to identify with a part you can hold and analyze.
2. Forecast Marketability
Focus groups are a valuable tool in determining the market success of your product. But it’s difficult for consumers and investors to infer the functionality of a 3D CAD image or traditional prototype. The closer you can get to the size, shape, colour and functionality of a final production part, the more valuable your market research will be.
3. Better Communication
You have a great idea. However, unless you are able to communicate the value of that idea to others, you will remain with just that idea. There is no better way to get understanding, buy-in and feedback than by using a functional, realistic prototype to clarify your concept.
4. Faster, More Effective Testing
Tangible, functional models are great. But at some point, you have to determine their suitability for a purpose. That means testing. And if there’s an issue, it means new prototypes and more testing. Product testing and proving can add weeks and months to development times. Concept models created with additive manufacturing can reduce that time to a matter of days, even hours.
One of the major sectors that benefit from 3D-printed concept models is dentistry. To learn more, check out our article “Digital Dentistry: Dental Milling Machines“.