Reference Chart for Rapid Prototyping and Low Volume Manufacturing

If you’re trying to bring a new product idea to market, there may be more than one manufacturing method that will suit your needs. Each of these processes used at Star Rapid has advantages for lead time, precision, start-up costs, volume and more.

Star Rapid quick and easy process matrix chart

Plastic Injection Molding

1~4 weeks to make injection molding tools and dies

Able to process thousands of thermoforming resins

Requires careful attention to best design practices for making tools

High reliability and repeatability

Higher initial tooling cost, relatively low unit price

Best suited for high volumes of mass-produced commercial and industrial parts

CNC Machining

No hard tooling necessary

Most accurate and precise method for close tolerances

Hundreds of metal alloys and hard plastics to choose from

Cutting programs can be easily and quickly modified

Suitable for rapid prototypes and production

Fast set-up and turnaround times

No limitations of volume

Best for angled / beveled faces, flat surfaces, turned parts, tapped and threaded parts

Vacuum Casting

Silicone mold tools are inexpensive

Surface finish quality is excellent

Many casting resins available that mimic plastic injection molded parts

Requires a master pattern for forming molds

Suitable for prototyping or end-use parts in small volumes

Best for quick turnaround plastic parts with production quality look and feel

Pressure Die Casting

Requires tools and dies

Aluminum, magnesium, zinc

Excellent dimensional stability and surface quality

Best for large volumes of metal cases, enclosures and housings

Metal 3D Printing

No tooling necessary

Programming and set-up is relatively fast

Most parts require post-machining and finishing to achieve final dimensions

Low volume, high-value parts

Best suited for lightweight, strong, highly complex metal shapes that cannot be made conventionally

We hope this overview was helpful to you. We will be happy to provide more information when you upload your CAD files for a free project quotation.


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