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Precision Rapid Prototyping and Production for Plastics, Urethanes and Metals

Precision Rapid Prototyping 
and Production for Plastics, 
Urethanes and Metals

Rapid prototyping is an umbrella term for the manufacturing processes used to quickly create physical models from a digital design. By employing 2D or 3D computer-aided design (CAD) models and advanced fabrication techniques-such as 3D printing-the process provides industry professionals with a reliable and economical method of streamlining their product development processes.

At Advanced Prototype Molding (APM), we offer a broad selection of rapid prototyping services, including FDM, PolyJet, DMLS, SLS, SLA, CNC cutting, and urethane molding to help customers take their product designs from initial concept to full-scale production.

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Creating Prototypes with Rapid Prototyping

Many rapid prototyping operations employ additive manufacturing techniques-also known as 3D printing-to generate the desired physical parts, models, and/or assemblies. Compared to traditional manufacturing methods that attach separate materials together (e.g., welding) or remove excess material (e.g., machining), rapid prototyping involves the use of specialized materials-typically thermoplastics, metals, and photopolymers-that are heated, melted, and extruded to produce the pieces layer by layer.

Industry professionals often use this technique to make prototypes of new product design to test for manufacturability and functionality before proceeding to full-scale production. In addition to facilitating testing operations, prototypes allow for:

  • Greater design flexibility. As the rapid prototyping process relies on CAD models, it does not necessitate investment in custom-designed tooling for each new part iteration. This process characteristic enables designers and engineers to adjust the part design and test it for functionality and manufacturability without having to invest in or wait on the production and delivery of new tools.
  • Better visualization of the final product. Having a physical version of the prospective product can help designers and engineers catch and fix potential design flaws before the company invests time and money in a flawed or faulty final product.
  • Clearer communication between team members and/or clients. Physical prototypes also make it easier for the design and engineering team to communicate with each other and their clients effectively. Rather than relying on abstract concepts or digital designs that can cause misunderstandings or misinterpretations, physical models make it possible for collaborators to visualize each other’s ideas.

All of these qualities facilitate more streamlined product development, enabling manufacturers to design, develop, and deliver their parts and products to market faster.

Rapid prototyping

Industrial Applications of Rapid Prototyping

Due to the numerous advantages it provides to manufacturers, rapid prototyping finds application across a diverse set of industries, including in the following:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Consumer products
  • Medical and dental
  • Oil and gas

Rapid Prototyping Solutions From APM

At APM, we provide five types of rapid prototyping services:

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is one of the fastest types of rapid prototyping, making it incredibly useful in the early stages of concept design. The process binds thermoplastic layers together and can be used to create a variety of objects of varying consistencies, from hard to soft and bouncy and anywhere in between. Typical applications of prototypes produced through FDM includes design validation and testing of part properties such as strength, durability, and heat resistance. ABS and polycarb are two of the most commonly used FDM materials.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 1
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 2
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3


PolyJet printing accommodates the use of multiple materials of different colors, transparencies, and mechanical/physical properties, which allows for greater detail and complexity in prototypes. The process also boosts accuracies down to 0.014 millimeters. Some of the products commonly produced through PolyJet printing include high-accuracy tooling such as fixtures, jigs, and molds.

Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (SLA) is one of the most widely used rapid prototyping techniques. It uses light-sensitive liquid polymers to produce lightweight prototypes suitable for visual/conceptual demonstrations and presentations, limited functional testing, and casting pattern applications.


Stereolithography (SLA) is one of the most widely used rapid prototyping techniques. It uses light-sensitive liquid polymers to produce lightweight prototypes suitable for visual/conceptual demonstrations and presentations, limited functional testing, and casting pattern applications.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS creates extremely accurate and durable parts by sintering plastic powder into the desired design shape with a high-powered laser. This process is ideal for low-volume production of end-use parts, as well as rapid prototyping. SLS is relatively inexpensive compared to most other industrial additive manufacturing processes.

Rapid Prototyping & 3D Printing Services at Advanced Prototype Molding

Advanced Prototype Molding offers Rapid Prototyping, 3D Printing and a variety of other mold making & production services all under one roof. Contact us today for more information regarding how we can be of service!



APM is an industry leader in the field of rapid prototyping. No matter what type of project you’re working on, our team of experts is ready and willing to help you determine the best way to bring your CAD model to life. To partner with us on your next project, contact us, or request a quote today.

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Certified Logo with ACG

1520 N Old Rand Road Wauconda, IL 60084
Tel: 847-202-4200
Fax: 847-202-4270

Certified Logo with ACG

263 North Woodwork Lane, Palatine (Chicago), IL 60067
Tel: 847-202-4200
Fax: 847-202-4270

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