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How Do I Choose the Best Rapid Prototype Software?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Rapid prototype software is software that is used to make the creation of new prototypes easy and fast, but some functions may help you achieve this goal better than others. You may want to look for rapid prototype software that has a three-dimensional (3D) interface, because this can help substantially when customizing a part. Along with a 3D interface, the prototype software also should be able to edit every aspect of your design to optimize the prototype. Having an exhaustive parts list may help you add existing parts to your prototype design, and this can make the design work quicker. This program is meant for rapid prototyping, so it should be able to connect with rapid prototyping equipment.

There are some two-dimensional (2D) rapid prototype software interfaces on the market, but these generally will only be good for very simple parts. The design on the computer eventually will become a physical product, so getting a 3D interface also can be beneficial. This can help you view and edit the design to your specifications while presenting a realistic-looking model.

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Having a 3D interface should help with editing and fixing the prototype design, but another aspect that may help is having total control over the 3D model. Some rapid prototype software programs have restrictions when it comes to editing the model, such as being unable to change the width or thickness of the representation. A prototype may need many small changes until it will be perfect, though, so you should get a program that is easily able to work with every aspect of your model.

Most prototypes use existing parts and, if the rapid prototype software has a large list of existing parts, this may be able to help you out in terms of accuracy and speed. Instead of having to manually make a model of an existing part, a parts list allows you to select the part and it will be added to the prototype model. Larger lists normally are better, because they tend to have a better chance of fulfilling your needs, but having a list that specializes in your prototype’s niche — such as electrical or plumbing — is another option that may work well.

One of the major aspects of rapid prototyping is using a rapid prototyping machine such as a 3D printer or an automatic milling machine. If rapid prototype software cannot connect to one of these machines, then it may be difficult to output the prototype design. Having support for many different rapid prototyping methods usually is beneficial.

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