Rapid Prototyping

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Rapid Prototyping: Overview

Rapid Prototyping is the fast fabrication of an early version of a prototype. It is meant to serve as the physical conceptual design for a developing project, and the quick and easy nature of the design allows creators to change parts of it without much time overhead. Typically, rapid prototyping can be done very cheaply using materials that are either already owned or simple to procure, like cardboard, foam, MDF, and legos. The following page will reference different types of material categories that are used for rapid prototyping.


The use of textiles and sewing for prototyping provides aesthetic enhancement, provide cost effective representation of flexible materials, with diverse conceptual applications from biomedical projects involving a desire for representation of living organisms to visual aids in project execution.

Paper Products

Cardboard, MDF (medium-density fibreboard) and additional paper products provide flexible and forgivable prototyping uses due to its light characteristics and ease of reconfiguration. Paired with tape, it is one of the more common methods of rapid prototyping for early project representations and visual aid.

Methods of cutting include using the laser cutter, an X-Acto Knife, or paper specific scissors.


Legos are used to create physical representations of smaller scaled prototypes with durability and stability characteristics.

Lego - Mindstorm

Lego - Mindstorms are Lego Kits with a specific purpose in developing critical thinking and creativity through a user friendly interface in robot building and assembly.


XPS(Extruded Polystyrene) and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) are the two available Styrofoams the Idea Shop have available for sale. Foam can be cut to suit your specific dimensional needs through hot wire cutting.

For more in depth molecular description on the differences of EPS and XPS, watch this video!

Foam provides a light and easy to carry bulk material that can provide larger scaled prototypes with the portability prototypes are designed for.