Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping Services

Rapid Designs provides multi-faceted rapid prototyping services, including stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), high-speed CNC machining and professional prototype model making. By applying the latest digital technology, our staff of highly-experienced specialists is capable of meeting the most stringent demands in terms of time, cost and precision in the creation of rapid prototypes for products or compenent parts.

Rapid Prototyping Technology Overview

Rapid prototyping, also known as solid freeform fabrication, is an additive layering process. A three-dimensional computer model of a part is sliced into layers by the SLS and SLA rapid prototyping system’s computer program. Each slice is then fed to a processor which in turn directs a laser in X and Y axis directions, as well as controlling the beam output power, to cure or sinter through either UV laser (SLA) or CO2 laser (SLS) the cross section (slice) of the part. After the slice is completed the system's build mechanism vertically repositions incrementally (Z vector), usually between .07mm and .15mm per layer. This process is repeated until the vertical height of the part is completed. Build time can range from one hour to many depending upon the part volume, mass and Z height.

SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) and SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus) have proven invaluable as aids in the rapid development of products. There are virtually no industries, including medical, defense and aerospace that have not realized the benefits of these technologies. If time is money, then rapid technologies should be applied wherever possible in the development and commercialization of new products. Today, the solid freeform fabrication processes have gone well beyond prototyping, and are applied with equal success in tooling and rapid manufacturing of precision components in low-volume production applications.

Selecting the Right Technology – SLA vs. SLS

SLA emerged as the industry leader in form, fit and appearance applications. SLA still demands the leading position when it comes to holding close tolerances (<.05mm) and smooth surface finish. Its material properties are limited where robust or demanding performance situations are needed. Stereolithography (SLA) is a UV curable epoxy resin base system. Because it is an epoxy resin system there are practical limits to prototyping and manufacturing applications. Frequently, parts that are produced from SLA are transferred to urethane castings using silicone rubber molds (SRM). SRM molds are frequently referred to as RTV molds (room temperature vulcanization). The urethane castings are used in the customer's application. SLS materials are suited for direct functional applications where performance demands robust resistance to chemical, heat, wear, abrasion, flexibility, and internal/external surface pressures.

Rapid Designs rapid prototyping service specialists, after consulting with you and understanding your Rapid Prototyping or Rapid Manufacturing application, will help you select the most appropriate Rapid process. If functional prototypes, concept-bridge tools or rapid prototype injection molds are required, our team of professionals can offer a solution that best meets your needs.  We measure ourselves by the value we add to our clients and their projects.

Materials: Acrylate and epoxy resin systems Thermo-set plastics and metals
Typical Applications: Pattern masters
Form and fit
Appearance models
Functional prototypes
Performance evaluation
Direct manufacturing
Best Described as: Fragile
More accurate
Very functional


Rapid Prototyping Technologies We Use:

  • SLS – EOS P730
  • SLS – 3D Systems Vanguard HS
  • SLA – 3D Systems Viper si

Products & Rapid Prototyping Services:

  • SLS Rapid Prototypes (laser sintering)
  • SLA Rapid Prototypes (stereolithography)
  • Direct Digital Manufacturing / Rapid Manufacturing
  • SLS CastForm® Investment Casting Patterns
  • Metal Investment Castings
  • Silicone Rubber Molds
  • Urethane Castings – prototype and low-volume production
  • Secondary Machining
  • Insert Molding
  • Multi-Shot Molding
  • Painting
  • Nickel Plating
  • EMI/RF shielding


  • Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) / Rapid Manufacturing
    • Aerospace Hardware
    • UAV, UUV, UGV Hardware
    • Medical and Healthcare
    • Military & Defense Hardware
    • Homeland Security
    • Electronics; Packaging, Connectors
  • Rapid Prototypes:
    • Appearance Models
    • Proof of Concept Prototypes
    • Design Evaluation Models (Form, Fit & Function)
    • Engineering Proving Models (Design Verification)
    • Product Performance & Testing
    • Wind-Tunnel Test Models
  • Tooling and Patterns:
    • Rapid Tooling (concept development & bridge tools)
    • Injection Mold Inserts
    • Tooling and Manufacturing Estimating Visual Aid
    • Investment Casting Patterns
    • Jigs and Fixtures
    • Foundry Patterns – Sand Casting

Secondary Operations & Customized Finishing Processes:

  • Precision Machining
  • Threaded Inserts
  • Custom Machined Inserts
  • Surface coatings:
    • Lacquer
    • Water based Urethane
    • Two-part Urethane
    • Epoxy
    • Dip Coatings
    • EMI/RF Shielding
    • Fire Rated Spray Coating
    • UV Rated Spray Coating
  • Plating
    • Nickel plating
    • Vapor Deposition
    • Vacuum Metalizing
  • Decorations
    • Hand painting
    • Screen printing
    • Dry Transfer
    • Pressure Sensitive Labels
    • Laser Etching

Contact Rapid Designs – Your Rapid Prototyping Service Experts

Click Here to Contact Rapid Designs for further assistance with your rapid prototyping services needs.