Metal Rapid Prototyping: Methods & Applications and Key Consideration Techniques

Metal Rapid Prototyping: Methods & Applications and Key Consideration Techniques

Metal Rapid Prototyping: Methods & Applications and Key Consideration Techniques

Metal Rapid Prototyping?

Metal Rapid Prototyping is a new manufacturing technology that shots digital designs into solid 3D objects. The object required to be printed is first scanned to create a CAD model where changes can be made in the object design if required. Once the essential changes are done, the CAD files are transformed to (STL) format, which could be understood by a 3D-printing machine to print objects by using metal powder. Through 3D-printing, the prototypes can be manufactured in days or weeks instead of months and years.

The prototype parts can be of many applications in various industries such as automotive, industrial equipment, medical, end user products, aerospace & defense, oil & gas, and dies & tools.

There are various ways in which prototypes could be made, where every single process is different and has its own best use case to meet the requirements and depends on aspects like speed, durability, aesthetics, and budget. Incredible AM works on (SLM) Selective Laser Melting and other types of process are – (SLA) Stereolithography, (SLS) Selective Laser Sintering, (DMLS) Direct Metal Laser Sintering, (FDM) Fused Deposition Modeling, (MJF) Multi Jet Fusion, (PJET) PolyJet, CNC Machining, and (MIM) Metal Injection Modeling.

Methods and Applications for Metal Prototyping

For the assembly of metal prototypes, a number of options are available and emerging:

  • Machining a prototype from Metal Stock

  • 3D-Printing using different new commercial technologies

  • Investment or Plaster Casting using wax Patterns

  • Prototype Sand-Casting or Prototype Die-Casting using temporary tools

For assembly of the metal prototype, the producer must look at the benefits of the individual processes and weigh how material properties, costs, and its similarity to production intending to bear upon the process chosen.

Metal choice for Prototyping

Although needed, it is sometimes essential to use a material different for metal rapid prototyping than that of the finished product. For example, if a making aluminum casting is intended for manufacture using high pressure die-casting, a die-cast aluminum alloy such as A380 is often the proposed choice. If the part is made for prototype by an alternative method, the alloy will likely be different out of processing necessity. In those cases it is best to evaluate and compare mechanical and thermal properties of the material used to determine how best to compare the final results of testing.

Aluminum and steel are the most often used materials for metal prototypes, although titanium, chrome based alloys, copper, magnesium, and other metals are used for precise application. Magnesium alloys carry on growing  in product usage based on the advantages the material offers in its combination of thermal-conductivity, strength, and low weight density.

Key Considerations for Metal Rapid Prototyping

Material Properties:

When prototyping with metal, it is significant to consider the material’s mechanical & physical properties. Different metals have dissimilar strengths and densities.

Material for metal rapid prototyping can be manufactured by using CNC machines, direct metal-laser sintering, laser cutting, or printed parts to design perfectly.


The machinability of a metal brings up its ability to be cut or shaped using machine-tools. Some metals are extra machinable than others, meaning they can be more easily shaped into the wanted form.


In order to manufacture a metal prototype, you will need to use special-tooling. This tooling could be expensive and may not be willingly available. It is important to study whether the cost and availability of tooling is an issues before selecting a metal for prototyping

Surface Finish:

The metal parts surface finishing could be an important consideration when prototyping. Some metals have a rough surface finish than others, which can disturb the appearance and function of the prototype.


The shape and subtractive or additive procedure nature of a prototype describes its lead time, complex design takes extra time. The cost of prototyping with metal can be important, especially if special-tooling is required. It is important to consider the cost of materials and production before choosing a metal for rapid prototyping.

Volume and Budget:

The volume of mass manufacturing can be adjusted according to your budget and the appropriate method above mentioned.


In conclusion, metal prototypes are a significant step in the product development procedure. They allow you to test your design and make any needed changes before moving on to production.

In addition, they can help you save money and time by identifying possible problems early on. By understanding the advantage of metal prototypes, you can ensure that your product development process is as efficient as possible.

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