What are the Differences between Rapid Tooling and Rapid Manufacturing?

Rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing are the same types of manufacturing methods that allow you to produce prototypes, molds, and products at a faster rate when compared to the traditional manufacturing methods. In fact, rapid tooling is a part of the rapid manufacturing process, which allows you to create different molds and prototypes at the same time.

So, what are the differences between rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing? In this guide, you will learn about various key differences between rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing, along with their advantages.

Knowing More about Rapid Tooling – What is It?

Rapid tooling is a fast manufacturing method that allows you to create tools, molds, prototypes, and products at a rapid pace, much faster than the conventional tooling method. With rapid tooling, you can create multiple molds, prototypes, or products at the same time, meaning that you don’t need to create them one by one, which can take a lot of time to complete.

With rapid tooling, you can test your sample products or prototypes before production, and you can also improve your production capacity. In addition to that, you can minimize the time and money you need to spend to manufacture your products or prototypes.

Knowing More about Rapid Manufacturing – What is It?

Rapid manufacturing is the term you will use to determine the broad range of manufacturing methods that allow you to produce prototypes, molds, or products at a rapid pace. Thus, rapid tooling is also a part of the rapid manufacturing process, as it allows you to make molds, prototypes, and tools faster than the conventional tooling method.

Rapid manufacturing might include a wide range of fast manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing, CNC prototyping, vacuum casting, and more. With rapid manufacturing, you might use only one of these fast manufacturing methods, or you might also use multiple fast manufacturing methods at the same time, depending on your needs.

Key Differences between Rapid Tooling and Rapid Manufacturing

Essentially, rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing don’t have too many differences, because rapid tooling is a part of the rapid manufacturing process. However, in some aspects, rapid tooling might differ from rapid manufacturing.

Here are some key differences between rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing:

  • Definition. Rapid tooling is a manufacturing activity that allows you to produce multiple prototypes, molds, tools, and products at a rapid pace and at the same time. Meanwhile, rapid manufacturing encompasses all manufacturing methods that allow you to produce prototypes or products at a rapid pace, faster than the conventional manufacturing methods.
  • Range of manufacturing methods. Rapid tooling is its own manufacturing method, whereas rapid manufacturing has plenty of manufacturing methods you can choose from. Some rapid manufacturing methods include 3D printing, CNC prototyping, vacuum casting, investment casting, and also, rapid tooling.
  • Production of multiple prototypes. Rapid tooling allows you to produce multiple prototypes at the same time and at a faster pace than the conventional tooling or prototyping methods. Meanwhile, rapid manufacturing might or might not allow you to produce multiple prototypes at the same time. Some rapid manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing, will allow you to create prototypes fast, but it doesn’t allow you to create multiple prototypes at the same time.
  • Material compatibility. With rapid tooling, you can use materials that include plastic and metal materials, with plastics being the most common materials used in this process. Meanwhile, rapid manufacturing supports a wider range of materials than rapid tooling. So, the materials not supported by rapid tooling are often compatible with various rapid manufacturing methods.
  • Design compatibility. Rapid tooling allows you to use complex geometric designs in the molds or prototypes you produce, meaning that you can add as many features as possible to your prototypes or molds. Meanwhile, some rapid manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing, will have certain limitations on the design you can use in your prototypes.

Various Rapid Tooling Advantages

  • Creating multiple tools, molds, and prototypes at the same time. One of the best-known features of rapid tooling is its capability of producing multiple tools, molds, and prototypes at the same time. So, you don’t need to create your molds and prototypes one by one, which can speed up your production process multiple times.
  • More freedom in your CAD design. You can also submit CAD designs for your molds, prototypes, and tools with complex geometries and minimal restrictions. It allows you to get creative in adding various design elements to the products you will need to manufacture later.
  • Lower production costs. Rapid tooling can also minimize your production costs by a significant amount, as the costs of materials and production process are way cheaper than the conventional manufacturing methods. It can help increase your business profits.
  • Faster production time. You can send your products to the market much faster with rapid tooling. Creating multiple prototypes will no longer take a few weeks or months. You can get them done in just a few hours.

Various Rapid Manufacturing Advantages

  • A wide range of fast manufacturing methods. With rapid manufacturing, you can choose from among various fast manufacturing methods depending on your needs, such as 3D printing, CNC prototyping, rapid tooling, SLS, vacuum casting, and more.
  • Plenty of material options. Rapid manufacturing will support plenty of material options you can use in your manufacturing production. So, it is not limited to just plastics and metals. There are other materials supported by various rapid manufacturing methods, such as CNC prototyping that supports wood materials.
  • Fast prototyping and mold creation. With the wide range of fast manufacturing methods it offers, rapid manufacturing can also provide you with fast prototyping and mold creation for all your production needs. You can use the rapid manufacturing process for any industrial application.
  • No complicated steps. Rapid manufacturing allows you to bypass various complicated manufacturing steps that you often need to go through with the conventional manufacturing method. This is the manufacturing method that allows you to achieve your production goals faster.

Conclusion

Both rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing offer fast manufacturing production processes that will allow you to get your project done much faster when compared to the traditional manufacturing processes. You can also simplify the various manufacturing steps with both rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing, allowing you to get your prototypes done in as fast as a few hours.