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Rapid Prototyping with 3D Printing

In our modern business landscape with ever-tightening deadlines, RapidMade’s plastic and metal rapid prototyping services allow your business to take designs through more iterations faster and at less cost than ever before.

Whether you have a CAD drawing, a sketch or just an idea, we’ll develop the right prototype manufacturing solution for your business. Once we have your design, we’ll ship your fully-functional 3D printed prototypes in as little as one day.

If you need a new design from the ground up, you may be interested in our product design and engineering services.

3D Printing Prototype Services

We work with a range of 3D printed prototypes—including HP Multi Jet Fusion, FDM, SLS, and direct metal printing—to produce your designs in plastic, metal or composite. We also use 3D printed tooling and molds to quickly create vacuum thermoforming prototypes, urethane casting prototypes and more.

3D printed prototypes are durable, detailed and inexpensive, able to test function as well as form. Because of their excellent resolution on fine detail, they are also a reliable alternative for prototyping traditional manufacturing technologies like injection molding and machining.

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Prototype Manufacturing

Whatever the scale of your project, we can help you test your designs. We are experts at working with small budgets and are able to quickly iterate revisions or make several designs at once.

In addition to our 3D printing prototype services, we also perform expedited prototype machining or injection molding to get your production up and running as fast as possible.

Full-Scale Production with Ease

Once your prototype is complete, you can seamlessly move your project into production with our full suite of in-house manufacturing services, saving you time and expense. Since we’ll already have your CAD design ready to go, full-scale production runs are as easy as placing your order.

Comprehensive Plastic Prototyping Solutions at RapidMade

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Clear Acrylic Photopolymer curing from selective light exposure.

High-Resolution Photopolymer Resins via Stereolithography (SLA)

At RapidMade, we harness the precision of Stereolithography (SLA) for your designs, achieving unmatched detail and surface finish. SLA cures photopolymer resins with ultraviolet light, creating parts with exceptional resolution. Ideal for prototypes demanding aesthetic and functional precision, our high-resolution resins boast enhanced strength, durability, and thermal stability, suitable for various demanding applications. SLA offers a wide range of material options which simulate many thermoplastics. This includes rigid acrylics in black white and clear as well as a 60A elastomer and an ABS-like black resin.

The precision of SLA technology is particularly beneficial in industries where detail and surface finish is paramount, such as dental, jewelry, and audiology. Many users in those industries make low cost patterns to then cast other resins and metals, such as crowns in dentistry and custom in-ear earphones in audiology. The technology’s ability to produce parts with smooth surfaces and intricate details makes it ideal for applications where aesthetics are as important as functionality – the surface finish rivals injection molding after minimal finishing. Furthermore, SLA is also gaining traction in the medical field for its ability to create patient-specific models that aid in surgical planning and medical training. Surgeons are printing simulated models for surgery to gain practice before a real, high stakes operation. RapidMade leverages the full potential of SLA by offering a diverse range of resin options, each providing unique properties like translucency, high temperature resistance, or biocompatibility. This versatility ensures that each project is matched with the most suitable material, achieving optimal results that go beyond basic prototyping and venture into the realm of highly specialized applications

Commercial 3D Printing
With a build bed size of 15"x11.2"x15" MJF can handle your most challenging parts.

Production Grade Thermoplastics via Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)

Our MJF technology produces functionally robust functional parts. MJF creates homogenous, isotropic parts, ideal for industrial environments. We offer Nylon 12 and TPU, which are durable and flexible as well as have great heat and chemical properties and are FDA rated for medical devices and long term skin contact. Nylon 12 offers excellent mechanical properties, perfect for complex assemblies. TPU, with its flexibility, is ideal for applications requiring shock absorption. Engineers love prototyping in MJF because they know that when they are ready for short to medium scale production runs they do not even need to change to a different manufacturing method – they can print in MJF at scale. This eliminates the need for costly and time consuming DFM (Design for Manufacture.)

Its suitability for complex geometries and fine details makes it an excellent choice for custom parts in the automotive, aerospace, and robotics sectors. The technology’s exceptional layer adhesion results in parts with isotropic mechanical properties, making them reliable for structural applications and load-bearing components. This technology enables us to meet diverse industry needs, from producing durable manufacturing tools for CNC machining and thermoforming to specialized robotics end effectors to flexible and resilient components for medical devices and prosthetics, all while maintaining a swift turnaround time that is pivotal in accelerating the product development cycle.

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Detailed architectural models printed in ABS. FDM excells at lightweight and thin parts.

Versatile Thermoplastics via Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) stands out for its precision and capability to produce large-scale parts accurately, holding tight tolerances, particularly on machines like the Fortus 900mc which can print parts up to 36 inches. The highest accuracy of any 3D printer, coupled with the ability to print large components as a single piece, makes FDM a favored choice for various applications, particularly aerospace. In terms of material versatility, FDM employs a range of thermoplastics, each offering distinct advantages. ABS is known for its toughness and impact resistance, making it ideal for durable prototypes and manufacturing tools. PC (Polycarbonate) offers excellent heat resistance and mechanical strength, suited for demanding automotive and industrial components. Ultem, known for its exceptional thermal and chemical resistance, is highly sought after in advanced engineering applications, particularly in the aerospace and medical industries (FAR rated for flame and toxicity, FDA rated.)

An underrated advantage of this technology is its age and widespread adoption. In particular aerospace has been using it for 30 years – the FAA approved drawings specify these materials made with this technology and even if other 3D are more economical it is not worth the cost to certify new processes and materials. The components must be made in FDM.

Despite these advantages, FDM does have its limitations. The surface finish can be poor and heavily striated, especially when using lower resolutions (0.013″) necessary for large prints to save on time and costs. Additionally, FDM’s interlayer adhesion is not as strong as other 3D printing methods, leading to weaker mechanical properties along the Z axis. However, RapidMade effectively mitigates these challenges by optimizing print settings and employing advanced post-processing techniques. The absence of a powder support system in FDM makes it a more cost-effective option for large parts, as powder bed technologies like MJF and SLS have high costs for unused space. By balancing the material benefits and the unique capabilities of FDM with its inherent drawbacks, RapidMade ensures the delivery of high-quality, large-scale parts that meet diverse industrial requirements.

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There are tolerances and finishes that 3D printing cannot achieve; materials it cannot use - for that we have CNC machining.

Precision Plastic Prototyping via CNC Machining

RapidMade’s CNC machining services offer an optimal solution when precision and surface finish are paramount – 3D printing does not perform as well in these areas. CNC machining is essential for projects demanding the highest accuracy (geometric tolerances of 0.001″ – 0.010″) and smoothest surface finishes (25 Ra.) CNC machining outperforms 3D printing in achieving tighter tolerances and superior surface quality, making it ideal for high-precision parts, tooling and prototypes.

While CNC machining offers a broader range of material choices, including durable plastics like ABS and polycarbonate and advanced materials like PEEK and Teflon for more demanding applications, its primary advantage lies in its precision capabilities. This makes it particularly valuable in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and medical, where exacting standards are a necessity.

Despite its higher accuracy and better surface finish, CNC machining typically involves longer lead times and higher costs than 3D printing methods. The process is more labor-intensive, and the costs associated with specific materials and equipment are higher. However, for projects where the utmost accuracy and fine surface details are non-negotiable, the investment in CNC machining is justified.

RapidMade leverages its CNC expertise to ensure every project is executed with the highest standards of precision and quality. By focusing on each project’s unique needs, RapidMade helps clients navigate the trade-offs between CNC machining and 3D printing, delivering parts that precisely meet their specifications and quality expectations. When customers need the best of both worlds, 3D printed parts can be post machined.

Comprehensive Metal Prototyping Solutions at RapidMade

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The complexity possible with binderjet stainless steel parts is truly a marvel.

Metal 3D Printing via Binderjet (BJT)

At RapidMade, our metal 3D printing capabilities using binderjet technology are redefining the limits of prototyping. This process allows for the creation of real stainless steel prototypes in grades like 316 and 17-4, offering a cost-effective alternative to traditional metal manufacturing methods. Ideal for small-scale or single-unit productions, binderjet 3D printing excels in delivering detailed and durable prototypes at a significantly lower cost than legacy print technologies like laser-based DMLS and SLM.

While this method provides exceptional detail and cost efficiency, it typically exhibits longer production times and slightly lower precision compared to other metal 3D print technologies. Despite this, its accuracy is adequate for many applications (~1%,) especially where the unique properties of stainless steel are essential but high costs and extensive production times are prohibitive. Binderjet technology is particularly suitable as a substitute for low volume metal injection molding – saving significant money by avoiding expensive tooling which often takes months to produce.

For projects demanding higher precision and surface finish, RapidMade combines binderjet printing with post-machining. We first print parts near-net shape and then refine them through machining to meet specific accuracy and finish requirements. This hybrid approach leverages the affordability of binderjet printing while ensuring the final components meet stringent standards, making RapidMade a versatile and efficient choice for a range of metal prototyping needs.

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The old repliable metal technology - it may be getting supplemented with 3D Printing, but it won't be replaced any time soon.

Versatile Metal Part Manufacturing via CNC Machining

For 50 years CNC machining continues to be a cornerstone in the world of prototype fabrication, particularly for metal components. At RapidMade, our capabilities include both 3- and 5-axis CNC machined prototypes, accommodating a diverse range of metals such as steel, aluminum, and more specialized materials. Known for its precision and versatility, CNC machining excels in creating parts with precision tolerances and superior surface finishes. 3-axis machine tools are great for simple angular parts while 5-axis machine tools excel at manufacturing parts with complex surfaces that need many cutting angles to achieve the desired geometry.

Our CNC machining services stand apart in the industry due to our combination of advanced machinery and skilled craftsmanship. This synergy results in prototypes that consistently adhere to the highest standards of quality. Whether it’s a part for aerospace, automotive, medical devices, or custom machinery, we will make your parts to print and can even offer technical documentation like first article inspection (FAIR,) certificates of conformance (CoC) and material certifications.

For applications where the integrity of material properties and the accuracy of dimensions are paramount, CNC machining is an unrivaled solution. It offers the reliability and robustness needed for rigorous testing and real-world applications that 3D printing cannot rival. Our focus on precision, combined with our expertise in a wide range of metals, positions us as a preferred partner for prototyping projects that require the best in CNC machining.