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3D Printing Prototypes

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3D Printing Prototypes

Technology and Solutions for Any Size Model or Prototype

Fathom Digital Manufacturing specializes in building models and functional 3D prototypes of all sizes. Our in-house additive manufacturing technologies can build it all — from the smallest products to full-scale industrial models. Models and prototype parts are essential for testing, visualization, advance marketing, and functional demonstrations. All large models built by Fathom will be able to withstand the same rigor and abuse faced by the eventual manufactured product. Numerous materials are available for model-making, large prototypes, and 3D printing prototypes. The experts at Fathom will tailor models to specific needs, time constraints, and budgets.

Fathom 3D Prototyping Services Include / / 

Model Work for Industries Served by Fathom / / 

  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) 
  • Exhibition Models 
  • Machinery 
  • Trade Shows 
  • Military Equipment 

What is 3D Prototyping?

A 3D printed prototype is an advance part or product made with 3D printing technology. The advance part will allow engineers to demonstrate and test the product design before investing time and money into full-scale production. 3D printing makes it easy to bring designs to life without committing to long-term production. 3D printed parts can be made in a variety of plastic materials as well as metal. New technologies can take products from design to prototype to production in a fraction of the time associated with conventional manufacturing methods. Fathom has partnered with Evolve Additive Solutions to present the next step in additive manufacturing. The Evolve SVP™ is the first 3D printing machine to feature the revolutionary Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP).

This process combines the speed and agility of 3D printing with the robust durability and manufacturing capability of injection molding. The Evolve SVP™ is capable of 3D printing objects in multiple colors and materials in one shot.

3D prototyping is very cost-effective as it allows engineers to uncover design issues and make the necessary changes early in the product development process. These changes can be made quickly and are easy to implement simply by modifying the CAD file. 3D prototyping can reduce production bottlenecks by eliminating costly and time-consuming changes to tooling while speeding product development. Gather valuable feedback before production through the use of 3D prototype design.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a production method that builds parts, layer-by-layer, with plastic or metal until the desired shape is formed. 3D printing allows designers to produce parts with complex geometries that would otherwise be impossible to manufacture by conventional means. Popular 3D printing processes for plastic include Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA), and Selective Thermoplastic Electrophotographic Process (STEP). Metal parts can be 3D printed with Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

Purpose of 3D Prototypes

Reasons to consider prototypes / /

  • Consumer Review / / Placing a physical product into the hands of customers can yield valuable feedback. Real world testing of form, fit, and function to iron out design issues and make improvements.
  • Proof of Concept / / A physical product for each design iteration can provide valuable part functionality insights.
  • Manufacturing Prep / / Use a prototype to test and edit the product design before investing in tooling and large-scale production.

Types of 3D Printing Prototypes

There are many different kinds of prototypes. The product development process will determine what type of prototype will work best.

  • Visual Prototype / / A visual prototype can illustrate product color, size, and geometric features. These simple prototypes may not include the correct texture, feel, or weight of a product. Visual prototypes are primarily used in marketing.
  • Working Prototype / / A physical prototype allows customers to test functionality. These prototypes may not have the same appearance as the final product. The purpose of the physical prototype is to determine if the final product will meet design specifications or if any design changes need to be made. Testing form, fit, and function is a crucial step in product development.
  • User Experience Prototype / / A user experience prototype has the same appearance and functionality as a final product. It can be presented to the end-user for research and allows for consumer testing. This will determine if a product is user-friendly while providing information on customer satisfaction. Customers can interact with the prototype, allowing valuable data to be gathered. There may still be opportunities for improvement made possible by the user experience prototype.
  • Functional Prototype / / A functional prototype has the same appearance and full functionality as the final product. It may be made using different materials or different manufacturing methods than the final product. Functional prototypes are ideal when pursuing funding for mass production or for licensing.

Benefits of Prototypes

The benefits of having a prototype can range from answering design questions to seeing how the customer interacts with the design. Additional benefits of having a prototype include / /

  • Testing form, fit, and function. Check for durability issues.
  • Collect customer feedback and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Uncover design problems early in the product development process in order to avoid costly retooling once manufacturing starts.
  • Determine the ideal manufacturing process for the product.
  • Provides accurate estimate for production time and cost.

3D prototype design allows you to create multiple versions of your product within a relatively short amount of time. Adjustments to the part can be made in the 3D modeling software and then quickly printed. Parts can be produced in as soon as same day depending on the project specifications. Submit your project quote today to get started.

Why Choose Fathom to Make Your Prototype?

  • Comprehensive Prototyping Services
  • State-of-the-Art Equipment and Technology
  • Prototype Experience for High-Tech Industries
  • Customer-Based Approach

Receive an Instant Quote for Fathom’s 3D Printing Prototype Services 

Get an instant 3D printing quote on your 3D project today. 

Additional Resources

Manufacturing Locations Across National Time Zones
Manufacturing Locations Across National Time Zones
The Fathom Advanced Manufacturing Platform
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1050 Walnut Ridge Drive
Hartland, WI 53029
ISO 9001:2015


444 W. 21st St. Ste. 101
Tempe, AZ 85282
ISO 9001:2015
NIST800-171 Compliant


7770 Washington St.
Denver, CO 80229
ISO 9001:2015


13758 Johnson Street NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304


1801 Rowe Lane
Pflugerville, TX 78660
ISO 9001:2015

1513 Sam Bass Rd
Round Rock, TX 78681
ISO 9001:2015
ISO 13485:2016


46758 Lakeview Blvd,
Fremont, CA 94538
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified
NIST 800-171 Compliant


14000 N.W. 58th Court
Miami Lakes, FL 33014


1920 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850

401 W. Shore Blvd.
Newark, NY 14513
ISO 9001:2015


1207 Adams Drive
McHenry, IL 60051
ISO 9001:2015

1401 Brummel Ave
Elk Grove, IL 60007
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified

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