MODELMAKING & PROTOTYPING
blended with cutting
Models and prototypes remain a vital part of the design process. Whether they embody a mechanical function or simply represent the size, shape or weight of a developing design, the desire is to instil confidence, to prove theory, reduce uncertainty and control risks.
Modelling design propositions helps to overcome the ‘imagination barrier’ and enables us to gain accurate feedback from stakeholders and users
Research & strategy
The process of exploring early ideas always benefits from the presentation of physical form and explanation of the context. Modelling design propositions helps to overcome the ‘imagination barrier’ and enables us to gain accurate feedback from stakeholders and users. We can also simulate real world environments and user scenarios by ‘green screen’ filming and digital processing, making the context more realistic and feedback more valuable.
Similar techniques are used throughout concept creation and the design development stages. Simple foam models create that essential sense of scale often obscured within computer aided design. Practical rigs and proof of principal models establish feasibility and, as richer 3D data becomes available, accurate rapid prototyping technologies can be integrated into the development strategy.
Ergonomic and aesthetic appraisals, mechanical and endurance testing, short run builds and field trials all require models and prototypes for assessment. These can include highly finished presentation models for commercial feedback, proof of principal test rigs, jigs and fixtures, environmental test models, airflow models, configuration and structural evaluation models. LA have extensive knowledge and experience in all these areas. We create the parts and manage the tests.
LA have incorporated new digital technologies, initiated in the world of medical science and film-making, to complement traditional modelmaking skills. Rapid prototype parts and castings from silicone moulds can be enhanced by hand finishing techniques, adding and hybridising materials during construction.
CNC machining allows parts to be made in virtually any material, from foam and model board to functional materials like acetal. Tough, self-coloured ABS parts can be printed using our Hewlett Packard FDM machine. Finish, colour and texture are all vital to one’s perception of a prototype and we have our own paint shop to ensure accurate evaluation.