Application of functional prototype

Application of functional prototype

Prototype refers to the model of a new product before it is put into mass production, which use for testing the quality of the product and ensure its normal operation. It is widely used in electronic technology, mechanical engineering, vehicle engineering, aeronautical engineering and construction engineering, etc. The experimental products are correspondingly called prototypes, model car, etc.

1.Currently the prototypes can be divided into following categories.


  • Form prototype: It is the initial visual prototype, emphasizing the geometric features of the design, and not much emphasis on color, texture, or other property related to the final appearance.

  • Visual prototype: The size and appearance of the intended design, not the function.

  • User experience prototype: A prototype that is fairly complete in function and appearance, which can be used for user research.

  • Verification prototype: used to verify some key functions of the original design, without all the functions of the final product.

  • Functional prototype: complete the function and appearance required by the design, but it may be created by using different techniques and different sizes from the final design.

  • Working prototype: included all or almost all functions of the final product.


2.The mail role of functional prototype

A functional prototype is the most basic working prototype built to validate a product design, which can be regarded as the initial model of the final product, and already contains the functions and appearance required by the design. Additionally, it is an integral part of the assembly, testing, piloting, and market research process that evaluates design, materials, strength, tolerances, assembly, work mechanisms, manufacturability. Functional prototype can be manufactured with several prototyping techniques and engineering-grade materials, which can work under simulating real working conditions, and purpose for validate the design and improve the design by testing the form, fitness, and functionality.

The mail role of functional prototype

3.Advantage of functional prototype

Before invest to build hard tooling for mass production, the mainly advantage of create a functional prototype is identify and eliminate potential problems, thereby saving development time and money by identifying and reducing design defects, and the following related advantages.

Show your customers and investors a physical model of your product

Demonstrate the appearance, dimensions and features of your product

Test the market with your product before production

Save time and money by identifying and reducing design flaws

Improve and streamline the production process

Create multiple versions with different colors, surface textures and finishing processes

4.Functional prototype technology

Functional prototype technology

Rapid prototyping involves specialized manufacturing techniques for making high-quality physical models of a 3D design idea. Prototypes are useful for design improvement, as stepping stones to full production or for engineering testing. They are meant to be quick and economical, without the need for the investment in hard tooling. At AN-PROTOTOYPE, we provide you professional solutions to create a precise and detailed functional prototype for quick, economical, and low-risk product testing and evaluation. With advanced rapid prototyping technology, we can convert your design into a physical prototype in a few days, so you obtain full design validation and confidently implement full production through functional testing. Functional prototype manufacturing technology include CNC machining, vacuum casting,3D printing, rapid aluminum molding, etc.

CNC Machining

CNC machining provides an ideal processing method for functional prototype. It offers a wide selection of engineering grade materials and given “functional prototypes” the correct material properties, precise dimensional tolerances and excellent surface finish. Professional surface finishing gives the functional prototype with first-class aesthetic and texture, which is almost close to the final product of subsequent mass production.

Vacuum casting

Vacuum casting is ideal process selection for low volume production of a functional prototype (10 to 50 copies). Choose polyurethane materials with different physical properties to meet functional tests under various conditions, like mechanical load, thermal load and other reliability tests. Additionally, obtain similar production results, including color, surface finishing, texture, and soft-hand feeling.

3D Printing

3D Printing

Rapid prototyping 3D printing is a fast, simple, and cost-effective processing method, can
Convert the design into a physical prototype in short time. 3D printing with widely printing material selections, such as good performance plastics, metals, ceramic and glass powders, etc.
These 3D printing prototypes not only limited to verify the design but also can find issues in the early development phase and feedback design improvement directly, for avoiding the costly changes of hard tooling after in full production.

Rapid Tooling in Aluminum Molds

This fast and cost-effective plastic molding method not only manufactures hundreds of functional test prototypes close to the final product, but also provides production of end-use parts on demand. Quick mold-making cycles and cost-effective production methods promote cheaper design iterations and smoother transition from prototype to production.

rapid tooling