Affordable Rapid Prototyping?

I’m trying to create a type of iPhone case and sent my SolidWorks CAD files to a rapid prototype company and was quoted $240.00 to produce the prototype. Is there any way to get prototypes created for less? Based on the amount of materials that would be needed, this price seems quite high. Any suggestions on how to get prototypes created more affordably?

Send it out to at least 3 suppliers and request the same material, or have them recommend the most affordable material (have them also explain the pro’s and cons of the material)

from my experience 250 seems a little high for something that size.

Chevis W.

$240 is probably fairly reasonable for an object that size from what I’ve seen here in the North East US- unfortunately everyone needs to make a profit, so that isn’t just the part cost, but the cost of the labor for the guy setting up the machine, cleaning up and doing any finishing on the part, plus whatever profit margins they put on top.

It also depends on what type of process and material they are using. Different machines (SLA, Objet, FDM) use slightly different processes which all have different part cost and material qualities.

Sending it out to as many suppliers as you can can’t hurt if you have the time, but I’m not sure how much you’ll be able to pull out of that cost.

$240 could be reasonable. It depends on the material and finish. Are they painting your prototype? Sanding? Is it a rapid prototype out of a Dimension machine? Machined titanium?

You might look at ABC Printing - they have shops nationwide, and doing Zprint models is pretty cheap.

That price sounds somewhat standard, but you can check out the website and upload the part to get an instant quote.

Good luck!


It seems you’re probably only quoting a single quantity. Try Shapeways and set it up for sale and see if you can make some money back on a small investment.

Low cost… hmmm. Sheet styrene, Olfa knife, drill bits, glue, sandpaper , paint.

Rapid… maybe. Prototype, yes!