Material Selection Overview

Materials for Product Development, Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing

To meet the rigorous demands of product designers and development engineers, prototyping materials are the critical link to product design validation and product development process efficiency. Successful OEMs and product developers understand the value of time. Time-to-market can be dramatically reduced if prototype-to-production bridge materials mirror production material specifications. Most often it is not practical to produce hard tools to make a few parts. Hard tools are costly and time consuming. Design iterations and engineering revisions could quickly absorb budget, time and patience to complete a project. Rapid Designs has a proven commitment to continually research and experiment with new materials for all its rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing processes.


  • Urethane Casting Materials and Castable Resins
  • SLA Materials
  • SLS Materials
  • Injection Molding Materials
  • Machining/Fabrication Materials

In 2007 Rapid Designs introduced its new proprietary suite of engineered Rapid Manufacturing Solutions — eRMS™. Rapid Designs engineered solutions integrate materials R&D with manufacturing process improvements. These advanced solutions have already enabled our customers to validate laser sintered parts for production.

Material Selection Expertise

Rapid Designs multi-disciplined product development and manufacturing capabilities offer unique materials insight, enabling us to provide knowledgeable consultation to customers on all aspects of prototype and production materials. Rapid Designs prototyping and injection molding technical specialists routinely assess your prototyping and low-volume production application needs to provide intelligent material choices and process recommendations.

Rapid Prototyping Materials Selection Expertise

At Rapid Designs, the performance of the prototype produced for your application is the overriding priority. Every individual material and process used in prototyping has distinct advantages and relative disadvantages. Understanding and effectively communicating these relative characteristics of alternative materials and processes is a distinguishing characteristic of the Rapid Designs team. For example, our experience has demonstrated that overall, SLA tends to be the preferred process when accuracy is the overriding priority, and SLS tends to be a preferred choice when a robust-performance solution is needed. Correspondingly, we offer a suite of materials for each type of process.

  • Fabricated and Machined Prototype Materials – metal, plastic sheet, rod, tube and block
  • SLA RP Materials – Available resins include clear and ceramic reinforced
  • SLS RP Materials – 6 prototype and rapid manufacturing laser sintering powders enhanced with Rapid Designs proprietary suite of eRMS™ (engineered Rapid Manufacturing Solutions)
  • Cast Urethane Resins – Over forty in-stock resins and hundreds more to choose from offering a broad range flexible and rigid urethane resin systems. Special application grades include FDA grade, UL, UV94VO, and fire-rated.
  • Injection Molding Materials – Hundreds of engineering and commodity grades of resins to choose including custom blends and custom colors to meet your prototyping and production demands

Case Study: Multiple Rapid Prototyping Materials and Processes

This prototype developed for Full Life’s Pilot™ Walker Enhanced Mobility Aid exemplifies multi-functional prototyping disciplines and materials. Rapid prototyping materials and processes included SLA, SLS, cast urethane, silicone rubber molding, thin-wall tube bending, over-molding and a host of finishing techniques. The prototype was strength load tested to the product engineered standards.

Walker uses many different types of rapid prototype materials and techniques
This walker uses many different types of rapid prototype materials and techniques.

Medical Bio-Modeling Case Study: Multiple RP Materials and Processes

The need for medical bio-modeling of soft tissue organs for research, patient trauma from injuries sustained in combat and every day life has created a critical need for innovation. Scanning imagery technologies have enabled scientists, medical and healthcare professionals, engineers and prototype specialists to utilize 3D computer modeling and rapid prototyping technologies to provide life saving physical aids. Prototype materials and development of innovative prototyping processes are meeting the challenge.

Medical Product Case Studies: Prototype Materials Innovation

Below are two examples. Both examples started with CT imagery and applying free form fabrication to create the physical organic forms. The end result was a complicated convergence of advanced technologies, traditional model making skill sets and innovative materials selections. What’s unique with both applications is the end result.

The kidney model is a soft, five-part assembly comprised of various Gummy Bear type gels. The kidney can be used for medical device research and development. Doctors and development engineers can demonstrate placement and removal of kidney stones directly through the self-sealing tissue using needles simulating a surgical procedure, without loss of gelatinous fluids. The urethra tube is hollow to allow penetration to the inner lobes, again simulating a medical procedure.

The heart model was laser sintered with an elastomeric powder material. While the actual customer application is proprietary, the result demonstrates an extraordinary relationship of technology and materials to aid in medical innovations.

Gummy Bear type rapid prototype materials uses for this kidney model.
Gummy Bear type rapid prototype materials uses for this kidney model.
Heart model made using elastomeric powder rapid prototyping materials
Heart model made using elastomeric powder rapid prototyping materials.

Contact Rapid Designs – Your Product Development and Prototype Materials Experts

Click Here to Contact Rapid Designs for further assistance with your product development, manufacturing and rapid prototyping material needs.