FORGE Prototyping Process
Our process of product development is simplified into the 3 steps below. Over the years we've discovered that every project is different but the process is essentially the same : first put your idea in your hands - then share it with the world.
The first step - Dream - is the step where most clients begin. This idea just won't go away and it's time to get this thing made! Essentially, we need an overview of where the idea is now, progress that has been made and general guidance of how the product is different from what is already available. Note for projects requiring NDAs: Our standard NDA is the last page of the downloadable PDF.
Our production processes start digitally. We design parametrically meaning that each dimension is
numerically defined for high precision and easier modifications. Once finished, our files are
production ready and can be sent directly to factories for mass production quotes. We specialize in
3D printing so our files can be printed and provide samples in as little as a week from starting.
Note for silicone prototypes: The prototype process for silicone products is a little different. While we first design the shape you want the parts to be, to produce a silicone prototype we have to also design and create molds. We 3d print these molds to speed up the production process and offer low resolution and high resolution molds.
Once the digital files are designed and approved, it's time to move to production. There are
several materials and even processes to choose for your project. The following outlines
the most popular materials with an brief overview of what to expect from your prototype.
Standard Material Options
Low Resolution FDM
- Cheapest and fastest option
- Up to 12 x 12 in
- Quickly test form and possible function
High Resolution SLA
- Smooth but vulnerable to UV
- Up to 36 in
- 10 day turnaround and generally made hollow
- Limited to gray / black
- Resilient and strong
- Most expensive option with 14 day turnaround
We cast RTV silicone from Smooth - On. Most of our silicone projects are cast with food-safe, 50A durometer silicone but they have a wide selection available. Smooth - On provides extensive support so if your project has specific needs you can contact the manufacturer directly. The resolution of the 3d printed molds affect the surface quality of the silicone casts. The silicone even shows layer lines at .2mm layer height! Below is a comparison between FDM silicone molds and SLA silicone molds. Higher quality casts takes 10 days longer and roughly 50% more cost.