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What Are the Best Tips for Making an Aluminum Prototype?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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The creation of an aluminum prototype is accomplished using one of several different types of modeling strategies. Among the more popular options include the plaster process or a strategy that is known as air-setting. Each of these prototyping techniques can produce an aluminum prototype that is high-quality and excellent for use in identifying issues with the general design before the actual device goes into full production.

With the plaster process, the focus is on the creation of an aluminum prototype that is highly detailed and requires a particular finish. This process usually begins with the use of rubber patterns that serve as the basis for the plaster molds. Once the molds are created, the product can be introduced and allowed to set, with the molds arranged in some sort of chamber that provides controlled conditions in terms of temperature and air movement. While the plaster process does not rely on temperature to allow the prototype to set, the approach will include the use of equipment to help agitate the product during the setting, which in turn helps to reduce the level of porosity of the finished product, refining the detail.

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Another approach to creating an aluminum prototype involves using what is known as the air-setting approach. This method relies on the use of molds but relying on a controlled circulation of air to allow the product to gradually harden. Some designs will call for the introduction of air that is slightly warmer than room temperature, gradually introducing colder air into the area. This type of prototyping will likely occur in some sort of chamber, making it easier to control the gradual reduction in temperature while also controlling the velocity of the air movement at each stage of the setting process. Using an air-setting strategy is somewhat labor intensive but works fine when the level of detail or finish is less critical.

Making a choice between which method is best for the creation of the aluminum prototype will often depend on factors such as the size and structure of the finished product. For prototypes that are less complicated in terms of features, air-setting may work just fine and also be a more cost-effective approach. By contrast, going with the plaster process can make a huge difference when it comes to making a prototype that is somewhat intricate. Assuming that cost is not the driving factor behind the creation of the prototype, choosing the method based on the desires for the final results is the best approach.

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