Hand plate processing, also known as prototype machining or rapid prototyping, is a crucial stage in the product development process. It involves the creation of physical prototypes or models based on digital designs to evaluate and validate the design concept before full-scale production. In this blog post, we will explore the various common hand plate processing techniques, their applications, advantages, and the key considerations for successful prototyping.
Hand plate in some cases called the first edition, as the name implies is before mass production, according to the product appearance drawings and structure
Drawings usually start with a small number of samples, so as to check the appearance of the product or the reasonable structure of the functional sample.
Common methods are: CNC machining, SLA, SLS, SLM, FDM, vacuum compound mold, low pressure perfusion, sheet metal production. We will compare this in terms of definition, materials used, software used, workable parts, advantages and disadvantages Several kinds of hand plate processing.
CNC machining is a computer numerical control machine tool, according to the programmed program through the control of the knife path to cut a whole sheet, is currently the most used in China.
A wide range of hand plate production methods, the operation method is complex, the operator needs to have rich experience.Mainly used in plastic and metal plate processing, can be cut on all the plate in the market, is a material reduction technology, can only be processed.
A certain radian rounded corner, and can not be directly processed out of the inner right Angle, through wire cutting/sparking and other processes to achieve.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is one of the most widely used hand plate processing techniques. It involves the use of computer-controlled cutting tools to precisely remove material from a solid block, creating the desired prototype shape. CNC machining offers high accuracy, tight tolerances, and the ability to work with a wide range of materials, making it ideal for creating functional prototypes and end-use parts. The process can be employed for both metal and plastic materials, allowing engineers to test and validate designs under real-world conditions.
3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing)
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has gained significant popularity in recent years for hand plate processing. This technique involves building prototypes layer by layer using digital designs. It offers unmatched design flexibility, allowing complex geometries and intricate details to be created with ease. 3D printing is particularly useful for rapid prototyping, enabling quick turnaround times and cost-effective production of prototypes. It is available in various technologies, including Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), and more.
SLA refers to stereoscopic light curing forming method, a kind of 3D printing technology. The materials used are mostly resins, and ultraviolet rays of specific wavelength and intensity are used The laser is focused on the surface of the photosensitive resin, curing it in layers and finally adding layers to form a three-dimensional entity. 3D printing is an additive technology, going from zero to one. SLA is the earliest rapid prototyping manufacturing process with high maturity. It can be directly made into prototypes from CAD digital models with fast processing speed and short production cycle. Without cutting tools and molds, SLA can process prototypes and molds with complex structure and shape or difficult to be formed by traditional means.SLA equipment is expensive and has high requirements on the factory environment. The strength, stiffness and heat resistance of the mold after forming are limited, which is not conducive to long-term storage.
SLS is a kind of selective laser melting and 3D printing technology. At present, the mature process materials are wax powder and plastic powder. Laser beam pairs when printing
The tiled powder is selectively sintered, a layer of powder cartridge down, and then tiled a layer of powder laser sintering, all sintering out of the cartridgeRemove the excess powder and you get a sintered part.SLS handplate mold made of high strength, good toughness, can be used to make bearings, gears, precision parts, electronic parts, because it does not need support,High utilization rate of materials; But it has pollution in the process of hand plate processing; The speed is relatively slow.
SLM, or selective laser melting molding technology, is the most common technology in metal 3D printing molding at present. It uses fine focusing spot for rapid processing By melting the preset metal powder, the parts with arbitrary shape and complete metallurgical combination can be obtained directly, and the production density can be reached More than 99%.In the process of SLM making hand plate molds, support materials need to be printed due to the complexity of the parts, and the support needs to be removed after the completion of the parts.
And the surface of the workpiece is processed, so the production time will be relatively long, the cost is higher.
FDM is melting forming method, FDM materials are generally thermoplastic materials, such as wax, ABS, nylon, etc., to filamentous feeding. The material in The nozzle is heated inside to melt. The nozzle moves along the section contour of the part and the filling trajectory, and at the same time extrudes the melted material, and the material solidifies rapidly.And condenses with the surrounding material. FDM in the process of making hand mold, the price is relatively low, the material is safe and harmless, no mold fee, can make a variety of colors, but can not print hollow products.
FDM processing of the hand plate die has more obvious stripes, forming accuracy is relatively low, the need to design and make support structure, forming time is long.
Vacuum complex mode
Vacuum compound mold is the use of product prototype (such as SLA or hand plate processing) in the vacuum state to produce silicone mold, and in the vacuum state In the following, PU material is used for casting, so as to clone the same copy as the product prototype.Vacuum laminating is the most common technique used in the world at present. The technology can be applied to change the material of the product prototype and assemble the prototype Or small batch production of products to meet the needs of performance testing, market promotion, inspection and approval in the process of product development;Different PU materials can be used to replicate rubber parts, transparent parts, high temperature resistant parts, etc. Ordinary PU materials are brittle, ductile and resistant High temperatures are bad.
Low-pressure injection molding, also known as low-pressure reaction injection molding, is a new technology applied to the production of rapid mold products. It is a two-component polyurethane material mixed, injected into the rapid mold under normal temperature and low pressure environment, through polymerization, crosslinking, curing and other chemical and physical processes of the material to form products.
The low-pressure perfusion hand-plate mold has the advantages of high efficiency, short production cycle, simple process and low cost. It is suitable for small batch trial production in the process of product development, as well as the production of small batch production, simple structure covering parts and large thick wall and non-uniform wall thickness products.
Sheet metal production
For prototypes involving sheet metal parts, sheet metal fabrication is the go-to hand plate processing technique. It involves cutting, bending, and assembling sheet metal to create the desired prototype shape. Sheet metal fabrication is commonly used in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and electronics, where metal components play a crucial role. This process allows for the validation of the design’s structural integrity and functionality before mass production.
Key Considerations for Successful Hand Plate Processing
- Material Selection: Choosing the right material for the prototype is essential. Consider factors such as mechanical properties, thermal stability, and compatibility with the intended application.
- Design Optimization: Before starting the hand plate processing, optimize the design for manufacturability. This will help avoid potential issues during the prototyping stage.
- Surface Finish: Consider the desired surface finish for the prototype. Different hand plate processing techniques offer varying levels of surface quality, which may impact the final product’s aesthetics and functionality.
- Cost and Time Efficiency: Evaluate the cost and time required for each hand plate processing technique. Depending on the project’s requirements and budget constraints, choose the most suitable method.
Hand plate processing is a critical phase in the product development cycle, enabling engineers and designers to visualize, test, and validate their concepts before full-scale production. Whether it’s CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting, sheet metal fabrication, or injection molding, each technique offers unique benefits for different applications. By carefully selecting the appropriate hand plate processing technique and considering key factors for successful prototyping, companies can accelerate their product development process, reduce costs, and ensure the production of high-quality products that meet market demands.