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The History of Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping in the modern sense has its origins in 3D printing, having been developed in the 1980s as an innovative new way to produce prototypes. Since then, rapid prototyping has expanded its meaning to cover a range of manufacturing techniques, each focused on a different stage of product development.

Midas Pattern Company has been manufacturing in the UK for over 30 years, providing bespoke polyurethane moulding solutions across a range of sectors and industries for a variety of clients. Among our services is our rapid prototyping process, Midas FASTrim™. Reaction Injection Moulding can help you trial the size and shape of your product, as well as material and finish. To find out more about our services and how they can benefit your next project, contact us today.

When Was Rapid Prototyping Invented?

Rapid prototyping, in its modern definition usually refers to the manufacturing method of 3D printing, which was first used in the 1980s. Reaction injection moulding was developed in 1969 and manufacturers have since found use for this method in certain stages of prototyping.

After being established in 1989 we created FASTrim™, our low-volume or prototype tooling system which is ideal for product development. This prototyping method uses the same material and finishes as our production process and can be modified as your project evolves making it ideal for later-stage prototyping and material trials.

Who Invented Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping in the modern sense is often considered to have been invented in the 1980s by Hideo Kodama and Charles Hull with the development of 3D printing. Since then, rapid prototyping has expanded its definition to include various forms of manufacture.

The reaction injection moulding process was developed by German pharmaceutical company Bayer in 1969. FASTrim™ is Midas Pattern Company’s rapid prototyping system for reaction injection moulded parts. Using reaction injection moulding, we can effectively produce small volumes of production-quality parts using production materials. This is perfect not only for trialling materials and shapes, but also for producing parts for launches, demos, and marketing.

Why Rapid Prototyping Is Needed

Rapid prototyping is an essential part of the product development process. It makes it possible to trial and test multiple aspects of the design and functionality of a product from size and shape, to internal mechanics.

Reaction Injection Moulding is best used as a rapid prototyping method during earlier stages of production when the shape is largely decided upon but various materials and finishes need testing. Midas’ FASTrim™ process uses production-quality material and finishes giving you reliably accurate prototypes in days.

Why Rapid Prototyping Is Used

Rapid prototyping is used across industries worldwide as a reliable method of trialling various aspects of a product in development. This is done by quickly producing a version or part of the product in order to troubleshoot issues and make decisions such as size and appearance.

Reaction Injection Moulding is ideal for material prototypes as we use production-quality materials and finishes in all of our rapid prototypes, giving you a realistic idea of what your end-product will look like. This method also shows you the full design capabilities of reaction injection moulding, from undercuts to inserts.

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The History of Rapid Prototyping