Classification of prototypes in different function, material, maching method

In the early ages, handmade prototypes were limited by various conditions, mainly because most of their work was done by hand, which made it difficult to strictly meet the dimensional requirements of the appearance and structural drawings, so the inspection appearance or The function of structural rationality is also greatly reduced.

With the advancement of technology, the rapid development of CAD and CAM technology has provided better technical support for hand-made manufacturing, making the accuracy of the hand-made mock up possible. On the other hand, with the increasingly fierce competition in the society, the development speed of products has increasingly become the main contradiction of competition, and the production of rapid prototypes can effectively improve the speed of product development.


According to the method of production, model can be divided into manual hand made mock up and numerical control mock ups:


(1) Manual hand model: The main workload is done by hand.


(2) CNC prototypes: The main workload is done by CNC machine tools, and according to the equipment used, it can be divided into laser rapid prototyping (RP) and CNC’d

Rapid prototyping adapts 3D printing method(also called addition manufacturing such as 3DSLA, SLS method)


Compared with the CNC hand board, the RP hand board has its own merits:


The advantages of the RP hand plate are mainly in its rapidity, but it is mainly formed by the stacking technique. Therefore, the RP hand board is generally relatively rough, and there are certain requirements on the wall thickness of the product, for example, the wall thickness is too thin to be produced.


The advantage of the CNC hand plate is that it can reflect the information expressed by the drawing very accurately, and the surface quality of the CNC hand board is high, especially after the surface coating and silk screen printing is completed, even more brilliant than the product produced after the mold is opened. Therefore, the manufacture of CNC prototypes has become the mainstream of model manufacturing.


According to the materials used in the production, the hand board can be divided into plastic prototypes,  silicone prototypes, metal prototypes and oil prototypes:


(1) Plastic hand: The raw material is plastic, mainly the hand of some plastic products, such as TV sets, monitors, telephones, boxes etc.


(2) Silicone prototypes: The raw material is silica gel, which is mainly used to display the shape of the product design, such as cars, mobile phones, toys, handicrafts, daily necessities, etc.


(3) Metal hand board: Its raw material is metal material such as aluminum-magnesium alloy, stainless steel which is mainly adapted in some high-grade products, such as notebook computer, advanced single player, industry boxes, robots, cookers, drones and so on.


  • Slim hand board: Its raw material is oil sludge, commonly known as clay carving hand board, which is mainly used for product design and development. In the early stage of product development, the mud carving master uses clay to make the model according to his imagination or picture, and then according to the clay model. To determine the appearance, but the current clay hand board has been replaced by free-form.

According to the effect to be achieved, it can be divided into three types:

1)Appearance mock-ups: The main design of the product is designed to be beautiful, the color is accurate, and the internal processing requirements are not high.


2) Structural prototypes: It mainly tests the structural rationality of the product. It has higher requirements on the size and relatively lower requirements on the appearance.

(3) Function hand board: It is required to realize the same appearance, structure and function as the real product. Usually it is used in exhibition, new products trial order. It can be understood as the unlisted finished product, which is the most demanding and difficult type of hand board.


Posted in Prototyping.

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