Until now, prototyping optics was a nightmare: the processes used were not scalable, and required a significant investment, let alone the time you had to wait for your prototype to arrive. Making prototypes used to be a prohibitive venture for many businesses. However, with rapid prototyping it is possible to make cost-effective prototypes.

In this article we will share some of the benefits of rapid optical prototyping.

What is rapid prototyping?

Rapid prototyping consists of a wide range of techniques that can be used to efficiently and quickly fabricate a 3D scale model of a physical part or product.

Advantages of rapid prototyping

There are many benefits to rapid prototyping of optics. For instance, designs can be made in a shorter amount of time and in a cost-effective way. Complex parts can be created to lower risk, and different shapes can be tested in order to optimize the final product. Prototyping can help you launch new products in a shorter amount of time. Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages of rapid prototyping for optics.

1. Rapid prototyping saves money

Prototyping optics helps speeding-up product development cycles, and reduces manufacturing costs. With an efficient rapid prototyping technique you can save costs to be able to allocate resources to other essential areas of your business and eliminate inefficiencies.

2. Rapid prototyping saves time

You no longer need time to produce patterns or special tools that are needed for conventional prototyping. This leads to a significant reduction in time between the initial product design and analysis of the prototype. Product developers and engineers will have an accurate part for testing form, function and performance. The time savings alone can help your business to gain a competitive advantage over your competitors. Rapid optical prototyping can help bring your new products to market quickly.

3. Rapid prototyping allows for quick changes

With a physical prototype available, it is much easier to thoroughly test your product before finalizing it. With optical prototyping you can make various small changes per part, so you can test which product would work best for your particular project.

4. Rapid prototyping enables creativity

Out-of-the-box thinking is encouraged with rapid prototyping. It opens new doors and opportunities for new optical designs. Innovation has never been more accessible. You can now create totally new product designs, while cutting most of the restrictions of conventional optics prototyping. With optical prototyping you can incorporate freeform surfaces, which would be costly to produce with conventional manufacturing methods.

5. Rapid prototyping gives design freedom

With rapid prototyping you are able to develop and modify your optics based on your customer’s needs. You can create elaborate designs which would be impossible to create with conventional manufacturing methods. Also, no costly tools are required in order to produce a batch of prototypes. This enables engineers to make quick changes, while not going over budget.

6. Rapid prototyping helps you get buy-in

A physical model will help engineers to present new product concepts to stakeholders who need to be on board. Instead of relying on concepts or ideas, optical prototypes allow you to make decisions based on realistic data. Which will help create a better end product.

7. Rapid prototyping lowers risk

Before finalizing the product you can have an entire range of prototypes at your disposal. Various prototypes can be used for testing, getting buy-in and optimizing the final product. Rapid prototyping reduces the risk of critical and costly errors during the product development process. Your team can quickly identify design faults and make any required modifications before the product is finalized.

Rapid prototyping for optics suppliers

In order to remain ahead of your competitors rapid prototyping is crucial. Optical prototyping decreases the time it takes to develop optical prototypes and gets the final product to market faster. Quickly creating custom optical solutions will help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

With Addoptics’ manufacturing service you are able to order the amount of prototype optics you need. There is no high, upfront investment, no MOQ and no inventory or tooling required. You can have your custom prototype optics shipped to you within days.

Addoptics offers manufacturing-as-a-service.

  • Full design freedom
  • Iterative process
  • Cost-effective testing of optical designs
  • Shipment in days instead of weeks

Ready to get started with optical prototyping? Send in your optics design and start prototyping with us. We’d love to discuss your project!