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Who is RP Prototype?
We are a full service rapid prototyping company with our own factory based in Shenzhen city in Southern China specialising in prototyping and short run production. Our services include CNC machining, Vacuum casting and silicone tooling as well as SLA and SLS additive prototyping.
A quick overview of rapid prototyping services and injection molding:
CNC Machining or Prototyping is a subtractive rapid prototyping service in that it takes a block of material and then the unwanted material is machined away to leave the finished part. The main advantages are that high precision and repeatability can be achieved, a wide range of real production materials are available, fast lead times and relatively low cost compared to other processes such as 3D printing. If this process is suited to your design then this should be the first choice if you really want production representative parts that look and function great. (PS: CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control)
Vacuum Casting and Silicone Molding (aka cast urethane casting) is great for short run production as well as parts that require cast in colors, rubber like properties or over-molding. A master sample is first made by either SLA or CNC machining processes and then finished to the final surface finish of the parts to be produced. A silicone mold is then made from the master sample that is capable of producing up to about 20 parts per mold (this number depends on the complexity of design). Wide range of materials available that usually can be color matched to a pantone number and rubber like PU parts can be made to specific shore hardnesses.
Additive Prototyping: The most common of these processes is 3D printing, SLA and SLS. They all have a build platform that either moves up or down as the material of the part is added 1 layer at a time. The main advantage of these processes is that complex shapes can be created without the need for joining. The disadvantage, in the case of 3D printing and SLA, is this that materials are only simulant materials and usually inferior to the materials available for CNC machining. The costs are usually more expensive than CNC prototyping.
Injection molding is manufacturing process for plastic part production where the plastic material is injected into a mold with high temperature and pressure. Small extruded plastic pellets are fed through a heated barrel where they are mixed and then injected into the mold that has a cavity in the shape of the parts to be produced. After to material cools the mold opens and the parts are ejected. Injection molds can be very expensive and difficult to make large changes of the part design, surface finish and/or change materials after the mold has already been made. For this reason, Rapid Prototyping China is a great way to save money and time before getting to the production stage of the product development. We have managed more than 1,000 injection molding projects in China (as well as stamping, compression molding and die casting) and we have in-house tool designers that will be able to help you with your design for manufacture (DFM). Get free help today from our experienced engineers