When fabricating you have multiple ideas. You have multiple different iterations you go through, unique shapes, sizes, and perspectives. 3-D printing is no exception. One thing that you might not have a lot of is time, though. The more intricate a design, the more time it is going to take to create. How can you still design what you want, find out what needs to change, and have it done in a short amount of time? Rapid prototyping is the answer.
Rapid Prototyping is used when you want to test the functionality or aesthetic of a print without printing off the full model. Being able to single out one part of the design you want to test allows you to cut away part of the surface area and a huge chunk of time. In the image above I planned to make a whole cube. Using the technique of Rapid Prototyping I was able to find out I only needed half of the print. Cutting down half of the model cut more than half of the time off the print. After it was complete I was still able to check the function of the design which was the ability to hold an object in the hole.
This can work for a number of things. As mentioned before, it can be used to create aesthetics as well. In the image above, a print was done to check what size and shape filigree was desired for the overall piece. By cutting the rest of the model out and focusing on only the filigree, the time was reduced and changes were applied.
In short, rapid prototyping is used to create small sections of an overall model in a short amount of time. This allows more modifications in one day and saves materials. A prototype that would have taken all day to make and still come out wrong can be avoided by making smaller prints. Give it a try on your next design!