Everything You Need to Know About Rapid Manufacturing for Product Development

Whether you’re working on a new product or launching an updated version of an existing one, rapid manufacturing can be an incredibly useful tool in your product development arsenal. With tools like 3D printing and CNC machines, you can quickly turn out samples and prototypes that help you figure out the right features and fit to put in your final version. 

Everything You Need to Know About Rapid Manufacturing for Product Development
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

If you’re interested in learning more about this process and how it might be useful to your product development needs, read on to learn everything you need to know about rapid manufacturing!

What is Rapid Manufacturing?

Rapid manufacturing refers to any method that allows you to produce your product in less time than traditional methods, from 3D printing and CNC machining to rapid injection molding, vacuum casting, ect.

Rapid manufacturing can be used as part of the product development process, or it can create physical products after design work has already been completed. This guide will cover the pros and cons of rapid manufacturing, as well as give you tips on how to get started using this process in your business right away.

Rapid manufacturing, or short-run production, is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get your products out into the world. It’s especially useful for product development and prototyping, but it’s also great if you need to churn out a limited number of finished products in a relatively short amount of time without spending an enormous amount of money on tooling, molding, and design costs. 

With rapid manufacturing technology, you can get your products manufactured at low volumes without compromising on quality or reducing your profit margins unnecessarily.

Why Use Rapid Manufacturing in Product Development?

The fact is that prototyping can be a very expensive part of product development, and if you’re serious about bringing your product idea to market, rapid manufacturing offers some great benefits. 

By using digital technology and material science advances, rapid injection molding lets you tweak designs on-the-fly in ways that simply aren’t possible with traditional prototyping. 

This means that you can make design changes quickly—and affordably—as well as test out multiple iterations of an idea before committing resources to full production. In short, rapid manufacturing allows you to take more risks with your ideas, which could mean better products for consumers. 

What Are Some Benefits of Using Rapid Manufacturing? 

Here are just a few reasons why rapid manufacturing has become so popular: Speed: If you have something in mind but don’t know exactly what it looks like yet, rapid manufacturing allows you to create physical prototypes quickly and inexpensively. 


Once you have a basic prototype designed, it can be changed or updated without having to start from scratch each time. And because many of these technologies allow for new materials to be incorporated into old projects, there are even more options when it comes to design. 

For example, instead of making your product out of wood or plastic, you might decide to use carbon fiber composites (which would have been prohibitively expensive in earlier days). 


It used to be that prototypes were created through subtractive processes (like carving or milling), but today's rapid manufacturing methods are additive processes—meaning they're 3D printing-based. 

You can save thousands

In-house manufacturing often requires expensive machinery. For instance, a CNC machine can cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention software and training—all costs that can be avoided by using a rapid prototyping service. And as soon as you’ve created your final product design, sending it off to be produced will save you both time and money. A finished product will get back to you in just days.

The quality is great

Gone are the days when prototypes were low-quality, shaky, and didn’t even look like what you had in mind. Modern 3D printing technologies can now produce reliable and high-quality prototypes. In fact, some experts say that rapid manufacturing is more akin to traditional subtractive manufacturing than it is to additive manufacturing.

It’s fast

Not only does rapid manufacturing cut down on shipping time, it allows you to deliver products quickly. This can help you keep your customers happy and coming back for more. You can also gain a competitive edge over other companies that rely on traditional methods for producing their products. With rapid manufacturing, speed is essential, so you’ll be able to give your business an edge over others. Your business may become even more successful as a result.

With these technologies, parts can easily be combined and made out of multiple materials at once. Ultimately, if you need flexibility in terms of customization and experimentation, rapid manufacturing may be right up your alley! 

How Do I Choose Which One Is Right for Me? 

Choosing between these different technologies will depend on several factors. As mentioned above, one major consideration is whether you want to work with plastics or metals. Additionally, you'll want to consider how much detail you want to go into.