Home > System Development Methodology: PROTOTYPING > Atricles about System Development Methodology: PROTOTYPING

Atricles about System Development Methodology: PROTOTYPING

Benefits of Rapid Prototyping : Significant advantages of rapid prototyping include reduction of project cost and risk. Generally, one or more prototypes are developed in the process of software development in a series of incremental and iterative steps. Every prototype that is manufactured is based on the previous designs’ performance and it is a corrective process through which the past design defects or problems are corrected. The product is readied for production when the prototype is refined as per requirements and meets all the design goals like manufacturability, robustness and functionality.

Another great advantage of rapid prototyping is that it finds use and application in almost all the industries. The other advantages of rapid prototyping include the following.

Visualization capabilities are enhanced in the early designing phase with use of Prototyping . The user gets a fair idea of how the final product will look by observing the working model in early design stage.
The design flaws can be detected before manufacture process is initiated.
Active participation by all of the parties involved is one of the things that rapid prototyping enables. Active participation between the users and producer is encouraged.
The user is able to get a higher output.
Rapid Prototyping helps with reducing the costs of product development which is why its so popular.
Rapid prototyping increases the speed of system development.
With rapid prototyping, it is possible to detect deficiencies in the earlier prototype, coding activities and requirement analysis.
Rapid prototyping assists in refining the potential risks that are involved in the delivery
The different aspects of the prototype can be tried and tested and immediate feedback is possible form user.
Better communication is enabled between the users and designer as there is clear expression of requirements and expectations in the start itself.
Rapid prototyping enables easy delivery of high quality product.

Saving of Time and Cost: Rapid Prototypings biggest benefits are that is will save a lot of developmental costs and tons of time in the developmental costs. Time can be saved by reducing the amount of time required to produce the prototype parts and tooling. Production costs are lowered as the mistakes regarding tooling are identified in the early stages and hence, the modification costs can be cut down in the actual production.

Advantage of Innovation: Rapid prototyping can be used in many innovative ways. There are even more benefits from rapid prototyping other than these and the possibilities are endless. The advantages of rapid prototyping in innovative applications are advancement of new testing procedures and analysis, production tooling manufacture, improved communications across production departments and support of customized manufacturing. The new technologies can be used in a cost effective and successful manner with innovative applications of rapid prototyping.


Prototyping can be defined as the process of constructing physical objects automatically by making use of ‘solid freeform fabrication’. The initial techniques regarding Rapid Prototyping came into being in late 1980s. They were then used for producing prototype parts and models. In today’s world, they are being used for much wider applications. For instance- manufacture of quality parts. This technology is used by certain sculptors for producing complex shapes in order to display them in ‘fine arts exhibitions’.

Origin: Prototyping has taken virtual designs through ‘animation modeling software’ or ‘computer aided design (CAD)’. Thereafter, transformation into virtual, thin, horizontal cross-sections takes place. Each cross-section then gets created in the physical space. This process goes on till the model gets completed. It is better known as WYSIWYG process. Let’s understand this process in detail.

WYSIWYG: WYSIWYG as the abbreviation for ‘What You See Is What You Get’. It is used in ‘computing’ for describing a system wherein content looks similar to final product at the time of editing. It is generally used in word processors. However, this use is in the form of HTML (Web) authoring. The popularization of this phrase was carried out by the comedian ‘Flip Wilson’. His character ‘Geraldine’ used to say this very often to give an excuse against her idiosyncratic behavior.

This expression came to be applied later to computer-based applications as practicality in technology arrived. At times, it is phonetically spelt as ‘Wizzywig’ or ‘Wizywig’. It has also been used as a brand name for a ‘lighting design tool’ utilized in theatre industry to pre-visualize the shows and 3D CAD.

The process further : The additional fabrication causes the machine to read data from CAD drawing. You will find now that there are basically a few different layers that are laid down such as powder, sheet material, and liquid. Likewise, a model gets built-up from a chain of cross-sections. Such layers, corresponding to CAD model’s virtual cross section, are then fused automatically or joined together for creating the ultimate shape. The basic advantage of additive fabrication goes to state that any geometric feature or shape can be created through this.

The CAD software and machines are interfaced by the ‘standard data interface’ in the ‘STL file format’. The function of STL file is approximating the shape of an assembly or a part by making use of triangular facets. Surfaces of higher quality are produced by smaller facets.

The word ‘rapid’ can be used relatively. The construction of models using present-day methods could take time ranging from a few hours to a few days. This depends on the technique used, along with the complexity and size of the model. The additive systems take less time. They can produce models within some hours. Some techniques such as ‘solid freedom fabrication’ make use of two materials for construction of parts. The 1st material is known as ‘part material’ and the 2nd one as ‘support material’. The removal of support material takes place by heat. It might also be dissolved with water or any other solvent. When it comes to manufacture of plastic products, that too in large quantities, injection molding proves to be a cheaper alternative.


Prototyping cannot be ignored because they sought to prove the concept of the inventor to potential customers, suppliers, and investors-and most importantly, to the inventor himself. This has been the opinion of majority of experts. The idea behind creating a prototype is the accomplishment of a lot from the point of view of creativity, that too without having to put on so much of money in the idea of product or going for its commitment early on.

Construction of an ‘invention prototype’ at the appropriate time: It’s essential to construct an ‘invention prototype’ much before buying the tooling for building the product or seeking contract manufacturers. Sometimes prototypes are done even before too much time is spent on computer drawings just to see the prototype and get a better idea of the invention. He is likely to burn up loads of cash on ‘engineering drawings’ when possibly what he needs 1st is the papier-mache clearly showing him what is being tried by him. In this particular case, you really want to make sure you use some sort of computer aided drawings. Assessing the proper time for prototype is not all that tough. It just requires a proof of workability of the product invented by the concerned person.

The proper Prototyping for proper audience: An ‘invention prototype’ should be aimed towards the proper audience for doing its job. It means that the tailoring should be done in such a way that the requirements of the customers get fulfilled much to their satisfaction. Not only that, the prototype should be able to bear the critics of potential partners, investors, suppliers, and customers. This is a very important point: real appraisals should be done and friendly appraisals are not what you want to happen. The more slicker looking and operable the prototype, the ‘better’. The praises feel good sometimes but you don’t want to get carried away with these praises. It’s better to spend less on this production, as there would be many other places for spending the start up capital.

Let >1 prototype be made

If the overheads are not very much, let the Invention Prototype be made into multiple versions. In the next few desings you will see that the creator will improve the designs. Due to this, the latest product arrived at would fetch more money owing to its modern and sharp design. Its interresting because you will see some people who make two different prototypes at one time. The first one would be meant for ‘show’ and the second one for ‘go’, i.e. the 1st one could be made to look like the end product and the 2nd one for demonstrating the functionality.

For instance- Battery Buddy had a ‘looks-like’ and ‘works-like’ prototype. The 1st one was created at ‘University of Michigan’. A box was fashioned to proper exterior dimensions as per the engineering drawings. It was painted with fancy, fine graphics. This version could fit on around 90% of vehicles in market. A plastic box became the second one. It was grey-colored and around 4 times bigger than actual Battery Buddy. Finishing was not the issue then. The workability had to be checked; and it happened! Hence, the two versions made the task simpler from the buyer’s as well as seller’s point of view.


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