What’s better, 3D rapid prototyping or conventional prototyping?

The answer: It depends.

Everybody has heard about 3D printers that can produce mechanical parts in minutes, allowing engineers to quickly test designs. Aside from 3D rapid prototyping, most mechanical prototyping is done using conventional tools and methods such as machining, casting, sculpting, and molding. While these conventional methods can take longer to produce than a 3D rapid prototype, the resulting part is usually better suited to test the final functionality of the product.  By doing this, many unanswered questions can be addressed early in the product development lifecycle allowing for a quicker build, test, and fix cycle and faster time to market.


The Leardon Solutions team consists of experts in product development who can help choose the proper method of mechanical and electrical prototyping that provides the most effective way to qualify the different aspects of the product (form, fit, and function).  Leardon Solutions offers the following services:

Mechanical Prototyping

  •     Detailed prototype machining of large and small plastic and metal parts
  •     Laser-cut sheet metal parts
  •     Silicone molding of plastic and elastomer parts
  •     Aluminum and carbon steel plastic molding tooling for pre-production runs
  •     Surface textures, painting, urethane soft-touch coating, and EMI coatings
  •     Prototype assembly

Electrical Prototyping

  •     Breadboard assembly for circuit proof-of-concept
  •     Small quantity prototype  printed circuit boards (PCB) and assembly (PCBA)
  •     Firmware programming for functional testing

So why use 3D rapid prototyping for mechanical parts?

3D rapid prototyping allows engineers to test the form and sometime the fit of mechanical parts nicely. Straight forward and simple products can be prototyped using 3D rapid prototyping without the need for expensive tooling with the exception of the 3D printer, a good computer, and a variety of top 3D CAD software like SolidWorks.

Ask Leardon Solutions about our conventional and 3D rapid prototyping services. 

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