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

Ready To Start Your Next Project?

Request a Quote