Rapid Prototyping is what one would expect, rapidly creating prototypes. This article will explore the benefits and drawbacks of rapid prototyping as a system development life cycle.
3D Printing Technology has allowed Rapid Prototyping to offer significant benefits for the right team. Rapid Prototyping is most useful to models that are of relatively large scale such as machinery, cars, or large electronics. It allows engineers and designers to quickly transform their idea from the drawing board to a physical scale model. Rapid Prototyping is a life cycle also used by software engineers, though for software engineers it may also be called RAD (Rapid Application Development). The network’s architecture can be mapped on a rapid prototyping tool allowing for constant progress review.
Rapid Prototyping allows the entire team to bring their visualizations to life quickly and frequently. The more frequent a prototype is drafted, the more often potential problems can be addressed. This allows you to test before manufacturing in large quantities. Rapid Prototyping is extremely beneficial for larger scale projects because it allows the designers and engineers to test the usability and elegance of the draft. This can bring attention to necessary changes before the first true material draft is built.
This process has some drawbacks such as decreased functionality for complex models and costs. If the model requires expensive materials, then prototyping will be expensive or the alternative material will decrease functionality. When the functionality is decreased, such as strength or durability, the team still has to make assumptions and do more research. The team has to be experienced enough to know in which ways they can rely on the prototype. The more complex the project, the more experience the team will need. Often times a material scientist can accurately calculate the attribute differences between the materials of the prototype and materials of the final model.
There are other types of system development life cycles. You may not be able to speed up your life cycle enough to accomplish this. If rapid prototyping is not right for your team, there also is: spiral, waterfall, fountain, incremental, build-and-fix, v-shaped, and