Prototype Designers are a special breed of CAD designer who has the ability to create complex 3D models with the use of CAD. Most CAD designers go throughout their career as draftsmen to only design things within their specialized field. Some of these would include architecture, mechanical, civil, or electrical just to name a few. Prototype designers on the other hand have to be able to design on the fly no matter what the design consist of. This is a lot easier said than done, and there are only a few CAD designers willing to take on this role for the fact it's not an easy one to embrace.
If you're an Inventor and your taking on the patent process you should familiarize yourself with CAD the first opportunity you get. The reason for this is that CAD is used within every aspect of the patent process as well as creating the prototype, manufacturing, and several others. So how does CAD work exactly? Well, CAD 3D models contain information that can be translated by machines within manufacturing, and assist them by creating the instructions they require to build whatever product it may be. They are used with everything from glass, plastic, injection molds, CNC, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and wood just to name a few. Everything you see around you today that has been manufactured is more than likely the spawn of a CAD 3D model.
Rapid Prototype Services
Have you ever heard of the term rapid prototype and asked yourself what exactly is that? Well the word rapid is associated with these prototypes because in most cases it's created within a day or two at the most. This process is normally done with an ABS plastic or something similar through the use of a 3D Printer. These 3D Printers are the key to producing rapid prototypes, and as technology has gotten better, so has the precision and turnaround time it takes to produce a prototype. So how exactly does it work? It's done by a special process in which the 3D printer layers the specified material down similar to a normal printer, but the difference is that the 3D printer will do so continuously until the material has formed up and created the desired product. These prototypes are extremely precise and only allow for 4 thousandths of an inch of tolerance, sometimes less. Having a rapid prototype created before investing in an injection mold, or other type of production is just a smart choice. This small step will allow the Inventor to fully review what the designer has done before making any real financial decisions within production.