Digital Prototyping

Digital prototyping systems1 incorporate 3D modelling and design software with animation and FEA to create a model of a component in the software environment which simulates the performance of the real object.

The operation of the component can be studied and tested and design improvements made before the solid component is made. This means that the designer or engineer can be relatively confident that the component will function as required before it is manufactured and failed prototypes are minimized.

In marketing and visual design the labeling and colour scheme can be tested on a 3D model of the object to see how it will work without printing samples.

There are a number of digital prototyping systems available, but one of the best known is the Autodesk Inventor2 and related software.

The design process, incorporating digital prototyping, using Autodesk software as an example. Other software companies have produced their own prototyping systems, but the principles and processes are similar.

In this example from industry the Triple 8 racing team in the UK use digital prototyping to streamline their design process and race preparation.

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