FPGA Based Rapid Prototyping

At RT-RK programmable logic has been used since its early beginnings, starting from EPROM, PAL and PLD integrated circuits. With such a wide experience the company is confident to offer a complete design service based on

RT-RK FPGA prototyping group is trained for rapid prototyping of various digital systems, includingtailored high performance digital signal processing, designing of dedicated applicationIP blocks, or signal adjustment among various types of interfaces. Additionally,ASIC prototypingwith FPGA devices,RTL design verificationandIP outsourcingservice are offered, including IP customization service.

Flexible and dynamic business organization, continuous development, training and exploitation of new design and verification technologies give the confidence of reaching the highest technical standards worldwide. Highly trained staff and the academic environment provide a perspective business environment.

All the activities in RT-RK FPGA group are strictly project-organized with the flow of project documents transparent to the customer.

The Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology, powered with advanced simulation and synthesis tools is becoming the most preferred platform for the rapid development of highly integrated digital systems. Long design cycle is no longer acceptable in the presence of shorter Time-to-Market (TTM) pressures for products with increasingly shorter market windows.

Source code changes are straightforward for implementation and can be applied easily even in the last minute phase. In the case of mixed signal designs, it is possible to bridge analog sub blocks in various ways to accomplish required functionality, e.g. by setting equivalent digital model, by playing prerecorded typical sequences from memory, or by external connection with expected analog adjusted source. Such prototyping makespre-silicon validation simple, reliable and cost effective. It is trustworthy methodology which prevents taped out design failures.

Final results achieved on prototyping platforms are:

Modern ASIC designs are becoming more complex, making verification job more important for each block (IP, CPU, memory, etc.) added to the system. Verification process must be carefully planned and executed for reaching the goal of a bug-free RTL before ASIC production is started.

During SoC or ASIC project life-cycle FPGA based prototyping provides complete solution for design verification and validation. Based on latest FPGA devices ASIC prototyping offers design engineersunprecedented speed and flexibilityto validate algorithm performance and verify implementation of hardware IP blocks. Additionally, ASIC prototyping with FPGA can assist inhardware/software co-verificationcycle, providing possibility to software developers forreal-time testing before real ASICis produced. In this way ASIC prototyping with FPGA is dramatically reducing the verification time and increases the confidence for achieving the goal of first-time success with silicon production.

Beside traditional verification methods RT-RK offersreal time verificationon a market available platform or custom created one that can fulfill all customer requirements. Heavily trained and experienced team is here to ensure quality of custom solution.

During the past few years FPGA prototyping team has been involved in prototyping of newest generation of ASIC solution for digital television on modernmulti-FPGA platforms. Highly trained team of RT-RK has gathered valuable experience with many design techniques for design partitioning. That helps pick the best order to optimize design for locality, which as a result minimizes the length and amount of inter-FPGA routing, giving the highest possible performance of an ASIC prototyping solution.

In the area of System-on-Chip and IC applications we offer services ofintegrationof third party controllers, co-processors, and ICs on a target platform, including: target platform softwareadaptation, 3rd party softwarecustomization, anddevice driver development.

RT-RK can offer RTL verification as anevent-driven simulationwhich uses a unique verification approachindependent from the used RTLsimulation tool chain. The verification environment can be run with any of todays most capableEDAverification tools such asCadences Incisive Verification Environment,Synopsys Discovery Verification PlatformorModelSimfrom Mentor Graphics.

Starting from defined verification plan RT-RK develops the verification environment including test vectors, test benches and verification modules, creates a complete regression environment using any of scripting languages, debug RTL based verification item list and generates various reports depending on customer requirements. Moreover, the process is active in verification plan development with suggestions for improving for targeted application.

Modern high performance and high accuracy verification technologies includingmixed-HDL simulation, assertions, coverage reports, testbench automation, IP verificationwith industry standard languages asSystemVerilog,SystemCorVHDLare used.

RT-RK is experienced with real-time verification using FPGA. Various platforms can be used and extensions can be developed in order to create complete verification environment. Additionally, if a specific platform is required it can be designed from component selection in order fulfill all customer requirements.

There are many benefits from using FPGA real-time verification as for running long tests and caching corner cases. These platforms can also be used for pre-silicon software development and significantly shorten time-to-market.

We performpre-silicon software developmentusing the following:

RT-RK has been involved in numerous projects where dedicated embedded building blocks were designed. These blocks were treated as customer dedicated intellectual property modules with full care of accurate design and careful verification process. RTL code was functionally proven in real-time whether it was forFPGA devicesor customer relatedASICproduction.

The goal of RT-RK IP outsourcing service is to give an opportunity to customers to realize their ideas inreal-time environmentbetter and faster, andbe competitiveon the worldwide market with lower cost andhigher differentiation.

RT-RK IP outsourcing service provides variety of implementation techniques from design specification sign-off to RTL delivery and turns our customers ideas into real-time devices. RT-RK has built a dedicated development flow with modern tool chain for supporting complex development process which accelerates tape out of a required IP block. The powerful combination of3rd party EDA toolsandinternally developed proprietary toolsresults in a straightforward implementation flow that promises first time successes.

Qualification of rapid prototyping tools proposition of a procedure and a test part

The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology

September 2008,Volume 38,Issue 78,pp 683690Cite as

Rapid prototyping machines are becoming faster at manufacturing machine tools. The processes of quality assurance impose the qualification of the production devices. A procedure and a test part are proposed for that purpose; intended for the family of processes of point-by-point layer manufacturing. Existing test parts only permit benchmarking and comparisons between machines: their capacity can be evaluated, but the test part analysis does not make it possible to establish the link between noted defects and their causes. The proposed process and test part permit the identification of the defects and whether their origins are machine or material linked. This paper describes the approach used to design the test part. Some preliminary measures were made on a test part, in order to discuss procedure and measurements.

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Unable to display preview.Download preview PDF.

Bernard A (1995) Prototypage Rapide: intgration et applications industrielles. Proc Congrs International de Gnie Industriel, Montral

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Caillaud E, Peres F (2000) Risque en conception: contribution du prototypage rapide. Proc IDMME 2000, Montral

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Rochus P, Plesseria J-Y, Van Elsen M, Kruth J-P, Carrus R, Dormal T (2007) New applications of rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing (RP/RM) technologies for space instrumentation. Acta Astronautica (in press) Corrected Proof, Available online 27 March 2007

Buswell RA, Soar RC, Gibb AGF, Thorpe A (2006) Freeform construction: mega-scale rapid manufacturing for construction. Autom Constr 16(Issue 2):224231, March 2007

Winpenny D, Hayes J, Goodship V (2000) Rapid manufacturing: is it feasible? Rev Int CFAO Inform Gr 15:291293

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Zhou JG, Herscovici D, Chen CC (2000) Parametric process optimization to improve the accuracy of rapid prototyped stereolithography parts. Int J Mach Tools Manuf 40(3):363379, February 2000

Scaravetti D (2001) Elaboration dune dmarche de qualification des moyens de prototypage rapide. Research master report. ENSAM, Paris

Byun HS, Lee KH (2003) Design of a new test part for benchmarking the accuracy ans surface finish of rapid prototyping processes. Lect Notes Comput Sci 2669:731740

Labatut M, Raimbeault-Cluzeau S (1999) Caractrisation dun procd alliant prototypage rapide et fonderie cire perdue. ENSAM, Bordeaux

Yeung MK, Xu S, Xi F (1998) Error correction and prevention of rapid prototyped parts. A preliminary result. Rev Int CFAO Inform Gr 13:183189

Touati A (1998) Analyse du retrait et rduction des dformations en strolithographie. PhD Thesis, INPL

Bouyssie JF (1996) Modlisation des dficits osseux par strolithographie, Etude sur la prcision dimensionnelle et surfacique du procd. PhD Thesis

Pham DT, Gault RS (1998) A comparison of rapid prototyping technologies. Int J Mach Tools Manuf 38

Shellabear M (1999) Benchmark study of accuracy and surface quality in RP models. Raptec project:

Childs THC, Juster NP (1994) Linear and geometric accuracies from layer manufacturing. Ann CIRP 43/1:163166

Wich R, Bernard A, Bocquet JC (1997) Quality insurance for optima parameters determination for stereolithography process. Rapid product development technologies conference, Boston, November 1996. SPIE Proc Ser 2910:122132

Thiriot OP, Bernard A (2000) Study of a standard part for layer manufacturing processes. European Conference of Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing, Athens

Campanelli SL, Cardano G, Giannoccaro R, Ludovico AD, Bohez ELJ (2007) Statistical analysis of the stereolithographic process to improve the accuracy. CAD 39(Issue 1):8086, January 2007

Huang YM, Jeng JY, Jian CP (2003) Increased accuracy by using dynamic finite element method in constrain-surface stereolithography system. J Mater Process Technol 140:191196

Huang YM, Lan HY (2005) CAD/CAE/CAM integration for increasing the accuracy of mask rapid prototyping system. Comput Ind 56(Issue 5):442456, June 2005

Chiu YY, Liao YS, Lee SC (2004) Slicing strategies to obtain accuracy of feature relation in rapidly prototyped parts. Int J Mach Tools Manuf 44(Issues 78):797806, June 2004

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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2007

Scaravetti, D., Dubois, P. & Duchamp, R. Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2008) 38: 683.

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What is Rapid Prototyping Tools

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A set of devices used to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional parts during the design and testing phases.Learn more in: A Framework for Supporting In-Service Teachers to Use Domain-Specific Technologies for Instruction

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Extremely Rapid Prototyping Tools Part 2

Its been awhile since my lastposton extremely rapid prototyping tools. So I figured Id list a few gems Ive discovered along the way. A lot of times having the right tools to create placeholder content, find clip art, or other resources can get you over the hump when trying to create a quick prototype. Heres some tools that can help.

When laying out HTML/CSS, or otherwise mocking up interfaces, sometimes you need placeholder icons, pictures, and other bitmaps. I discovered this incredibly simple to use and absolutely ingenious site awhile back,placehold.it, which does just that. You simply pass the dimensions of the bitmap to the URL likeplacehold.it/350150and it will create a bitmap of that size. Why didnt I think of this?

Need temp music for your game but dont want to find a composer or pay for library tracks? Easy, useautotracker. This free python script will create surprisingly good randomly generated chiptune music in IT tracker format. This is a very compact format that can be used directly in engines such as Unity or converted to MP3 or WAV files. It even randomly generates a name for each composition.

Need sounds for your prototype? These open source tools will create randomly generated 8-bit style sound effects using tunable parameters and sound types (power up, damage, jump, etc.) I find the quality of the flash version,Bfxr, to be the best. Especially if you are doing a retro 8-bit style game, as so manyneckbeardy hipstersare, these sounds are good enough for production use too. Ive been toying around with the idea of porting it to C as a Unity3D editor extension.

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9 Best Prototyping Tools for 2017 Which Is Right For Your Style?

Matt Ellis is a freelance content writer, specializing in web design and ecommerce. For details about his professional work, visit…

Theres guesswork, theres theory, and then theres actual results. Thats where prototyping tools make the difference.

You could have the best or worst design in the world, but you wont know it until you see it in action. Prototyping tools bridge that gap between the initial design and the finished product, a rough draft to identify what works and what doesnt.

Prototypes serve a variety of functions in the web design process, but we can organize them into four main categories:

You want to demonstrate how your idea works while presenting to clients.

You want to fine-tune the product based on your target users preferences.

You want to get the rest of your team on board with your suggestion.

You want to see for yourself whether or not an idea will work as you planned.

Different types of prototypes, with different end goals and audiences, mean the same prototyping tool wont work for every situation.

While other articles simply list out their picks for best prototyping tools, were factoring in how theyll be used. Each of our 9 entries includeswhat theyre recommended for, so you can pick the right tool for what you need.

3 Projects (Starter) $15/month

Unlimited Projects (Professional) $25/month

Unlimited Projects, 5 Users (Team) $100/month

Well start off with one of the most popular prototyping tools,InVision. Its one of the most reliable all around, which explains its success.

Aside from a fine performance across the board, InVisions main advantage over other tools is its collaboration features. Its designed for enterprises and large teams, and offers them special features:

auto-updates every time a file is edited

synchronization with Dropbox, Creative Cloud, Google Drive, and Slack

project management page with drag-and-drop workflow like Trello (i.e., To Do, In Progress, Needs Review, etc.)

the Boards feature, for housing all your projects, providing context, and even aiding in presentions

In addition to the collaborative benefits, InVision upholds the recognized values a good prototyping app should have. You can add interactions and animations to static images. You can upload multiple file types, including JPG, PNG, GIF, AI, and PSD. And you can also test mobile devices with gesture controls.

All these perks add up to a solid choice in prototyping tools, especially if your focus is teamwork.

Webflows main selling point is that you dont need any coding skills whatsoever. You can build, design, and publish the entire site using only the visual-based UI. After you refine your prototype how you like it, you can turn into a production-ready site with just a click. These features appeal to independent designers, who now have the option to export without needing developers on-hand.

You can also export the project into code if you choose.

The other benefits include automatic responsive design and animations that work on all browsers and devices. Webflow is also compatible with Slack, Zapier, Google Drive, Trello, MailChimp, and more than 400 other services.

The drawback is that if youre designing an eCommerce site, youll need to use a third-party payment system.Weve spoken out against external checkouts before; they take away the powerful benefits of a customized checkout, and tend to bring up security concerns with customers.

If coding is one of your main problems, then Webflow may be the solution youre looking for.

Another popular prototyping tool,JustInMindis known for creating high-quality work, though at the cost of a steep learning curve.

For starters, JustInMind can be downloaded onto your computer for offline work anywhere, which is a big plus.

The interface allows for rich and sophisticated prototypes, but takes some time to get used to. This is not an unpack-and-play tool, but rather one that requires investment to get the true benefits.

One great feature is that you can use items from UI libraries and download numerous add-ons, providing a versatile range of what you can do.

However, dont be fooled if you see it billed as a free prototyping app The free basic version lacks all the features that make this worthwhile.

POPis almost like a niche prototyping tool, serving designers that prefer the classic pen-and-paper approach. The name itself stands for Prototype On Paper.

Now a partner of Marvel, another prototyping app that didnt quite make our list, POP is the best tool for transferring your sketches (and also digital creations) into an interactive prototype. You can even take photos of your drawings with your phones camera and upload them directly into the app.

For collaboration, you can synchronize with Dropbox.

Aside from paper prototyping, though, dont expect much from this tool. The fidelity level is unimpressive, but POP isnt pretending to compete with the other final product quality prototyping tools on this list. POP is designed exclusively for pencil-and-paper designers to add gesture controls and interactions to sketches. And for this, its the best there is.

Pro $29/month ($495 to purchase)

Team $49/month ($895 to purchase, per user)

Enterprise (includes on-premise solutions) $99/month

Axure RPis the reigning heavyweight on this list. It offers the most options to designers and its interface provides the most functionality. Of course, this also gives it the most complicated user system with the hardest learning curve.

Aside from a robust internal library, Axure RP allows designers to add ready-to-use components from widget libraries, or upload their own files for integration. For each component, designers can modify the color, gradient, or transparency.

Another great feature of Axure RP is that it aids diagramming and documentation. The prototyping tool facilitates the creation of flowcharts, wireframes, mockups, user journeys, personas, idea boards, and more, according to the website. These, along with the prototype itself, can be shared with the team in either Axure Share or SVN, where members can add their two cents with annotation options.

There are always those designers who just want the best and wont settle for anything else. They want to do everything themselves and dont abide restrictions, and of course are willing to put the extra time in to get what they way. If this sounds all too familiar, then Axure RP is the perfect choice for you.

If, however, youre looking for a happy medium between functionality and usability, or if you value speed and simplicity over intricacy, youre better off with another entry in this list.

Designers who prefer simplicity and WYSIWYG interfaces

Beginner designers (although it also works for expert designers who just prefer simple UIs)

On the complete other end of the spectrum from Axure RP isMockplus. This prototyping app is designed for speed and simplicity, lacking the breadth of other prototyping tools, but making up for it with easy usability.

The goal of Mockplus is to offer intuitive design aids so that designers can focus more on creating their projects than how to use their tools. What Mockplus offers is limited compared to other design tools, so designers dont have a lot of control but its enough to make workable prototypes, and make them quickly.

The usability is often as easy as dragging and dropping, with a pre-loaded library of 200 components for common UI patterns like pop-ups, drawers, and image carousels. The final prototype is fully interactive as well.

The other main advantage is the price: the basic version can get you pretty far, and its free. You get a lot of functionality options, collaboration features, and basic importing/exporting capabilities. The Pro version gives you 3,000 extra icons, a lot more exporting options, mobile online previews, and Cloud Sync.

If youre looking for easy and cheap (price, not quality), M
ockplus is you.

If Mockplus isnt free enough for you,Origamiis the only prototyping tool on this list thatscompletelyfree.

Regardless, Origami still provides a surprising amount of the basic features for prototyping tools:

Pre-loaded component library of basic patterns

Gesture simulations (scrolling, tapping, swiping, etc.)

Sketch and Photoshop document integration with layers intact

One of the harshest drawbacks, though, is the lack of collaboration features. Theres little in the way of commenting and viewing version histories. This prototyping tool seems more attuned to freelancers or individuals just starting out in the business.

Keeping in mind that you get what you pay for, Origamis bare-bone spread might be frustrating to experienced and hands-on designers. Origami is a tool for quick and easy prototypes and doesnt offer much for creating rich or substantial interfaces.

But its 100% free, so theres that.

Despite its praise fromTechcrunch,Wall Street Journal, andFubiz,UXPinremains somewhat of an unsung hero when it comes to prototyping tools. Still, those that do use it, love it.

What UXPin offers that other prototyping tools dont lies in the stages preceding prototyping. UXPin allows designers to smoothly transition between each and every stage in the design process, all in the same document. Paper sketches, wireframes, mockups, prototypes and any unique combination of these you can think of.

For example, you can build a quick interactive wireframe in just a few minutes and begin testing your ideas immediately. You can then build on that same file, incorporating the results from the first test. Make a pixel-perfect mockup in Sketch or Photoshop, then upload it directly into the same document to create a high-fidelity prototype from the same original wireframe layout.

Like Mockplus, UXPin follows the ideology that easy-to-use design tools free up designers to focus more on the projects at hand. Their user-friendly interfaces consists of ready-made components with drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG usability.

The collaboration tools have all the standard requirements, with direct commenting and project tracking tools.

If youre thinking beyond prototypes and looking for an all-inclusive tool, UXPin is worth checking out.

Single User License $89 (Single Purchase)

Volume License Varies by number of users

*Discount for Atlassian Service Customers

Well end with another popular prototyping tool,Balsamiq Mockups. Its a tool that aims to replicate the speed, convenience, and free spirit of sketching on paper/whiteboards, but in a digital medium.

Balsamiq Mockups targets Agile and Lean followers with a quick and painless usability that leaves more time for discussion and writing code. Designers choose from more than 500 pre-made icons and items or components they draw themselves.

Dont expect any dressed-to-kill prototypes here. The interactions are basic, and the final, low-fidelity prototype feels more like an interactive, high-fidelity wireframe. The company actually agrees and markets themselves as a wireframing tool, not a prototyping one.

But thats not the point. Balsamiq Mockups is more about speed and creativity. Its ease-of-use aids in generating and testing new ideas, and the web app allows for quick online testing. If youre the kind of designer that prefers to pool a large amount of ideas before diving into one straightaway, Balsamiq Mockups will save you time and help you get it done.

These 9 prototyping tools each have their own special advantages and suit different needs. Thats why we included the Recommended for sections, to showcase which designers and which projects can benefit most from each tool. Its not about which one is best, its about which one is bestfor you.

Admittedly, we left out a few popular prototyping tools on this list. We know tools likeFramerPrinciple, andProto.ioall have strong followings, but we wanted to focus on the nine we choose instead.

Wed love to get a comprehensive list going, so please help us by adding your suggestions. If you feel like we misrepresented one of these tools, or want to recommend one we didnt mention, add your opinions in the comments section now.

Matt Ellis is a freelance content writer, specializing in web design and ecommerce. For details about his professional work, visit…

Hi Matt, thanks for this nice collection of prototyping toolsAs the start of new year 2017, Mockplus is offering up to 64% discount for its annual billing subscriptions from this page: code: MOCKPLUS-2017

Please take away the coupon code to enjoy it now!

Thats great low-cost projects will cost even less. Thanks, Grace!

You are most welcome! Hope thats be helpful to more people. No matter which tool they choose, that will definitely be a smart decision.

Some great options there. I am sure you have covered at least one option to suit everyone

Im glad you mentioned Keynote! Ive never used Keynotopia myself because Im not a big fan of PowerPoint, but Ive actually heard good things about it, so I was curious to see how it stacks up to exclusively prototyping software.

I tried many prototyping tools. ex) framer, principle, balsamiq..etc. but I recommend ProtoPie. That is code free prototyping tools. Im working prototyping with this tools.

Im not very familiar with ProtoPie Can you explain more about it? What makes it your top choice?

Some of the strong suits of ProtoPie ( would imo be

create interactions between multiple smart devices (prototyping chatting or payment apps)

support for IoT (prototypes communicating with a Philips Hue for example)

high learning curve, easy to pick up

the most advanced prototyping tool for now, will be Origami studio, it can do pretty much everything.

Yeah, Origamis a great choice if youre working independently. Cant beat that price, either!

i recommend trying mocking up & prototyping with UX-App, its a very powerful tool for a low one time price

Hi Matt, it is always interesting to see these reviews and see how users rate the different tools. It woudl be great to hear if youve tried Fluid UI if you have any thoughts on it.

This is a solid list of design tools, but these arent all prototyping tools. Sketch for example is great, but its not so much of a prototyping tool without external tools like FramerJS (which was not mentioned oddly enough).

Just want to point out that there are great prototyping tools, and some arent mentioned here.

@STEVES comment on 10 september 2017

this is why for me adobe XD is a no-brainer. i find it a nice basic program that you can design in AND test prototypes in. the recording function also comes in handy. i think its n beta right now but it seems like they are adding even more features. for me a long time user of adobe, i really do hope adobe XD becomes the industry standard. : = 🙂

Please review MockingBot also. Very good / easy to use prototype tool

hey ! you missed Mockflow Wireframepro.One of best.

Tips and tools for rapid prototyping

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Dave Reeves watches Hack Manhattans 3D printer as it layers molten plastic into a bottle opener. Photo by Rob Goodier

Boards studded with the sliced halves of ping pong balls lean against the wall of the New York City hackerspace, Hack Manhattan. The balls stand in for pixels in asix-by-eight-foot game of Pong. Yes, that Pong, from Atari and the golden age of video games. This gigantic resurrection of the game is mind-controlled, meaning the joysticks are actually brainwave-reading headgear. The project won accolades and now shares the hackerspace with a 3D printer, a folding table cluttered with empty paper coffee cups, a beer can and plastic bin of parts, and a skinny chalkboard that wraps around most of one wall.

We visited Hack Manhattan when most of its members were at their day jobs. Justin Levinson gave us a tour and told the story of the Pong board. Like many real-world objects, the board began on a computer screen.

Members of Hack Manhattan employ 3D modeling and printing to rapidly prototype their ideas and test them in the real world. Shortly after the tour, another hackerspace member, Dave Reeves, arrived to demonstrate the 3D printer. He built it, and hes planning to build a more advanced model. Reeves also had a second, smaller 3D printer in his backpack.

Hack Manhattans hardware reflects the trend in tools for rapid prototyping. Theyre cheaper and more accessible than ever. And there are a growing number of online and real-world communities that offer help to novice manufacturers.

We asked Levinson and Reeves for advice on the tools of rapid prototyping. We also turned to the internationalFabLabsnetwork to look at prototyping tools in developing countries. Here are some recommendations.

The Prusa Mendel Reprap 3D printer at Hack Manhattan. Photo by Rob Goodier

The 3D printer is the go-to tool for rapid prototyping. Costs are dropping and the level of detail (also called resolution in 3d printing) is improving for home printers. They may not be field ready, meaning that a reliable, quick printer that you can fit into a backpack for use on the road may not yet exist. But those are on the horizon.

Beginners may find it confusing to choose a first printer, Reeves says.

Thats a question I asked myself last year at Maker Faire, he says, and he settled on a Prusa Mendel Reprap. But if I was going to buy a new one now, Id go for an Ultimaker I think, he says.

Ultimaker, Makerbot and UP printers are suitable for home use. For the Hack Manhattan team, however, Reeves and company are planning to build one of the the new delta geometry printers, the Rostock, which is another Reprap.

Hack Manhattan uses variations of Reprap, which dont have the highest resolution, but you can use another printer to print out most of the parts needed to build one. So, its replicable (and thats right in the name).

The Reprap prints a bottle opener with dozens of layers of molten plastic. Photo by Rob Goodier

Weve been tweaking the design [of their shop printer] for a smaller-footprint ultra-low-cost printer, the Wallace, says Levinson.

Weve done some interesting things like printing plastic bearings instead of buying metal ones, and now were working on printing the bearing surfaces directly into the structural parts, he says.

The really interesting thing about this technology is how quickly it evolves, evident even in the design innovations at just this one hackerspace. A worldwide online community fuels the advance of this technology with little updates like printing bearing surfaces right into moving parts.

For inspiration, see thesedozens of 3D printer hacksat hackaday, including printers that print printers (yes,yo_dawg.jpg, we know) and even a shipping container printer.

Novice 3D printer fans will always have help. You may have a hackerspace in your city with people who can lend a hand. And even if you dont, online open source communities are friendly and seem to have a tireless willingness to help. Hack Manhattan posts thishelpful software wikito help get started.

To scan an object for printing or to design a part that fits to a real-world object, youll need a 3D scanner. Reeves is putting the final adjustments on this one,the Spinscan. Including the webcam, the scanner cost $60.

An interesting hack for the Xbox Kinect turns the controller into a 3D scanner. The Hack Manhattan team used a Kinect scanner before they upgraded. Heresone wayto do it.

Clutter is a healthy sign for a busy hackerspace. Photo by Rob Goodier

Levinson recommends OpenSCAD, which is free, open source software for 3D modeling.

Its pretty easy to pick up, but getting useful things out of it takes some doing. The big benefit, to me, is that its fast, even on low-power systems, and you can get really, really accurate with the measurements often more than your printer can provide.

Rhino is another program that Levinson recommends. While OpenSCAD excels for mechanical part stumbles in working with organic-looking objects. Rhino fills that gap. The program is pricey, but for Mac users, that version is in beta and its free for now.

Sketchup is one of the most widely used 3D modeling platforms. Levinson stays away from it, but it has its fans, including the artist behind the construction manual for a cheap, screw-cutting lathe.

If those arent enough options, there are other programs such as TinkerCAD, 1-2-3D, and Blender.

3D printers may be catching on in developing countries, but slowly, and many inventors dont have access, yet. There are some well equipped labs and manufacturing spaces that use them, and they also make use of an interesting array of milling machines, cutters and programming tools. We looked to FabLabs for an equipment list. FabLabs are an extension of MITs Center for Bits and Atoms,provide tools to prototype inventionsand stimulate local entrepreneurship around the world. Nearly 130 are up and running, many of those in Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

See the worlds workshops on aninteractive map at iShow, the Innovation show and award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

And for the hackerspace on a budget, maybethe concrete screw-cutting lathecould stand in for a milling machine? We would love to see that put to the test.

Good luck, and please send us photos of your projects.

tags:3D Printinghackerspacemaker spaceprototypeprototypingrapid prototypingworkshop

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I had no idea that 3D printing had anything to do with prototyping. I also had no idea that there was such a thing as a 3D scanner and that it is important in prototyping. Ive also heard that buying prototyping systems online is where you can find the best deals, Ill have to look more into it.

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Balsamiq

is a rapid wireframing tool that helps you. It reproduces the experience of sketching on a whiteboard, but using a computer.

Making wireframes is fast. Youll generate more ideas, so you can throw out the bad ones and discover the best solutions.

Build a user interface at the speed of thought.

Tons of UI elements. Just drag and drop!

Improve your designs by gettingimmediate and meaningful feedback. Sketch-style wireframes help focus the conversation oncontent and interaction, not minute details (those can come later).

They look like sketches on purpose! It encourages brainstorming.

Need to present your work? Switch to the clean wireframe skin!

Since Balsamiq requires little investment in time and effort, youll revise your designs more often and refine them sooner. That leavesmore time for discussion and writing code. Its the perfect tool for lean, agile teams.

Most of our versions have revision history, and our web app even has branching!

Print out your prototypes or run online user tests,beforewriting code!

Balsamiq is the perfect in-between tool for Product Managers, Developers and Designers. We designed it for smooth collaboration from the ground up.

We have versions that run on the Web, on your Desktop, or as a Plugin to your wiki or bug tracker.

Access extra controls, custom icons, tools to export to HTML or code, and more!

Start using with full-functionality right away. No credit card or payment needed to start your trial.

We also integrate withGoogle Driveand AtlassianConfluence CloudConfluence ServerJira Cloud, andJira Server. Compare all versionshere.Weve got your back.

Balsamiq is a small group of passionate individuals who believe work should be fun and that lifes too short for bad software.

Were bootstrapped, profitable and independent. We like to compete on usability and customer et the team!

Over 500,000 companies create their software with the help of Balsamiq

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Pentagon Plastics

Rapid prototyping is a method of manufacturing parts in low volumes and can provide you with a fully detailed component within a short lead time. There are a variety of options available to suit your specific requirements.

Originally known as Additive Manufacturing the processes available have advanced over recent years and there are dedicated companies who offer a comprehensive Rapid Prototyping service. In addition to our own in-house options we feel it is important that you can come to us to assist you throughout the entire development process. To enhance our own supply chain we provide a range of options to meet your prototyping requirements as a fully managed service.

The outsourced prototyping techniques available are.

SLA was the first rapid prototyping technology andis a method of prototyping solid objects made up of thin layers of an ultraviolet curable material. These layers are exposed to an ultraviolet laser light that cures and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and joins it layer by layer. After the pattern has been traced the build platform drops by a variable distance depending on the accuracy of the machine running the application. A blade will then sweep across the part to re-coat it with fresh material and the process is repeated. After the parts are built they are immersed in a chemical bath to be cleaned of excess resin and are then cured in an ultraviolet oven.

SLS prototypes are produced by melting and fusing particles together in layers. The process relies on a laser to melt a flame retardant plastic powder which then solidifies to form a layer. The sintering process is also compatible with building metal objects as the principles of melting and reshaping still apply.

The three dimensional parts are created by having layers of material fused together by a high power laser. The laser selectively fuses powdered material by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3D cad file and recreates it on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned, the powder bed is lowered by one layer thickness, a new layer of material is applied on top, and the process is repeated until the part is complete.

The powder bed provides the necessary support for the parts negating the need for any additional support material. Once the part is complete it is raised from the powder bed and any excess powder can be brushed away, parts are usually built in either a glass filled or unfilled Nylon.

Vacuum casting is a process for producing multiple models and prototypes which can be used for form, fit and function testing.This process can be utilised for small batch production dependant on size and material requirements.

A master model is required initially which is used to form the cast or mould.These are usually created by the use of the SLA process (as above). Once the master model is produced it is used to create a silicone mould or tool that can be used to manufacture multiples of cast parts.

The casting material of choice is poured into the mould, to ensure that any trapped air is removed from the cast resin, this process takes place within a vacuum chamber. Any trapped air would potentially cause distortion to the finished part.Once the casted part has dried sufficiently it is then removed from the mould.The mould can be re-used a number of times before a replacement would be required.

This process accommodates a wide range of plastics and polymers which can be selected to most closely mimic the thermoplastic production material. Materials offered include ABS and Polypropylene type materials; it is also possible to include some form of additives.

Various high quality finishing options

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List of Prototyping Tools

have always been two of the quickest ways to create mockups of mobile designs and communicate with clients more effectively. This list of prototyping tools will come in handy even to those users who are new in this field, and are just taking their first steps in mobile app designing.

People often wonder what is the fastest and most cost-effective way of creating mobile app designs. The answer is evident. Just opt for an app prototyping tool that will help you to create an app within an hour or a day, depending on how much functionality youd like it to feature. For beginners, its always better tostart by drawing a sketch on paper. For designers, its always better to create a mockup in order to give their clients an idea as to how the future mobile or web project will look like. In that way, one can apply quick adjustments and make sure that the customer will get exactly what he/she ordered.

The selection of app prototyping tools is rich like never before. Choosing software that meets your requirements perfectly is not as easy as it seems. I would recommend that you take advantage of trial downloads and free software versions before you settle on the solution that is right for you. In order to help you narrow the search we offer for your consideration  20 smart app prototyping tools to get you started. Enjoy!

Flintois a tool for prototyping iOS and Android app designs. With Flinto, all of your prototypes will look like real things. The app allows you to test the project from the start, and apply adjustments as you work on the design. The app is simple to use, which makes it the preferred option for beginners. Everything can be modified by simply dragging and dropping.

Pricing: $20/mo, 30-day free trial version available

With the help ofPrototypes appyou can test and share your iPhone app mockups. The tool comes with integrated hosting, which allows you to create navigable mini-websites that, to your clients, look pretty much similar to the native iPhone apps and demo prototypes.

MockingBotis an editor that allows both Windows and Mac users to develop interactive mockups on the web. There is an online prototyping tool available, so you can test the way it works on your own.

Frameris intended for Mac users. This is a Javascript framework for prototyping interactions and animations for desktop and mobile apps. The tool is fully integrated with Photoshop, so in order to use Framer you will need to download the app, open files in Photoshop, and then click Run in the Framer.

Prototypr Appis an absolutely free Mac tool that doesnt use any web server. To craft an app prototype, import files from Photoshop, link screens, and upload the results of your work to your Mac or any iOS powered device.

WithFlairBuilderyou will be able to build complex wireframe and prototypes that can be viewed by a wide range of people. The way you work within the app is somewhat similar to other prototyping tools. Once youre done, you can either email the saved file to your client or let him/her open it via the Flairbuilder online viewer.

Pricing: $99, 15-day free trial available

Fluid UIis a browser-based wireframing and prototyping tool intended for creating Android and iOS apps. Coming with thousands of integrated widgets, it is easy and intuitive by letting you drag and drop different components onto your design. As you progress, you can share your designs with others to give them a better understanding of your project.

Pricing: free plan for 1 project with up to 10 pages, Lite for $12/mo, Standard – $29/mo, Professional – $49/mo

As the name implies,Prototyping on Paperlets you transform your sketches on paper into the real, working prototypes. This is a tool that can be used literally by everyone. To create an app, all you need to do is take a photo of your sketches with your iPhone and the simulator will create your future app. Later on, you will need to create a system of links, and test how the system responds to different activities.

Pricing: free for 2 projects, $10 for 10, and $25 for an unlimited number of apps

With the help ofKeynotedesigners can create wireframes and clickable app prototypes that can run on both desktop and mobile devices. The things this tool can do include animated transactions between the slides, smart guides, auto distribution, and gestural control.

InVisionis claimed to be one of the worlds most powerful app prototyping tools.  It is more designer-oriented, providing for quicker prototyping. We can use it to transform our static projects into a clickable, scrollable  format with the aim of showing colleagues or clients how the future design will look and function.

WireframeSketcheris a wireframing app that helps professional designers, product managers and other creative people to develop wireframes, prototypes and mockups for desktops and mobile apps in a matter of minutes. There is a rich library of page and interface elements that can be added or removed from your workplace by simply dragging and dropping.

Antetypeis a Mac OSX software that helps you to create responsive UI for any desktop, mobile or website project. The widget library that is supplied, along with the app offers plenty of ready-made solutions that will help you get started quickly and easily.

Pricing: $189.99, 30-day free trial available

FieldTestis a browser-based tool that helps you to turn images into interactive apps. No matter whether you use hand-drawn sketches or pixel-perfect photography for your prototype, the app allows you to animate literally any of your source files.

Justinmindlets you create everything from animated mockups to the fully-featured prototypes without having to worry about the code. All of the effects, animations and transitions can be managed via a simple and intuitive admin panel.

Pricing: $19/mo, free trial available

WithProto.ioyou can create fully featured prototype apps for any device in just a matter of clicks. The tool comes with an extensive widget library. By simply dragging and dropping you can add or remove any element and adjust its settings with a click. The tool comes with detailed documentation and video tutorials, which make it possible, even for non-tech savvy people, to use the software.

Pricing: $24/$40/$80/$160 per month, 15-day free trial available

Marvelis a web-based app prototyping tool that lets you create your new creative projects right in your Dropbox. You are free to use PNG, JPEG, PSD or a hand-drawn sketch. The dashboard includes multiple options for you to interlink different pages, add transitions and animations, make the header of your app sticky, etc. Once youre done with your prototype, you can share it with anyone via email, SMS, QR code or simply embed it in your site. Marvel also allows you to download the prototype with such options as PDF, ZIP, APK or IPA.

Codiqais an app prototyping tool that lets you create an interface for mobile devices and then export a jQuery-powered prototype. Similar to many other solutions on this list, Codiqa allows you to take your first steps towards making your app a reality by simply dragging and dropping multiple elements in the dashboard. After prototyping your app youll get an absolutely usable code.

Pricing: starting from $79 per license, a 7-day free trial available

UXPinis a smart app prototyping tool that was developed by UX designers for UX designers. The dashboard includes a library of UI elements that can be added to the canvas by dragging and dropping. Together with such traditional options as the header, functional buttons, images, texts, etc., the dashboard includes elements from other popular frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation.

Concept.lylets you create an iOS app by simply taking photos and collecting feedback from your colleagues, customers or just anybody. Just design a sketch or take a picture, link screens together, test your app, and share.

Mockabillyis an iPhone app prototyping tool for quick and seamless prototype development. Basically, it works similar to the other app prototyping tools from this list, plus provides you with the option to share mockups via Dropbox.

This is a list of prototyping tools that are currently the most popular among designers and ordinary users who want to try their hand at creating mobile apps. If you know some other cool tools, please drop a line in the comments and Ill update the post. If you have ever worked with app prototyping tools, well appreciate you sharing your experience with us.

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Thanks for your article. I recommend prototyping tool about ProtoPie. ProtoPie is easy tool for mobile app prototyping.

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Rapid Prototyping Tools Revisited

Earlier this year I wrote about thevalue of prototyping. Along with my thoughts on why and how to create effective design prototypes, I listed some rapid prototyping tools. My hope was to offer non-technical folks in the UX field the inspiration and the means to create something interactive instead of a standard wireframe and visual design comp.

Ive been overwhelmed by the response to theoriginal post. Sixty of you offered suggestions for additional tools and techniques. In the months following Ive collected these, and found a few of my own. The list of rapid prototyping tools has been updated and can be found below. The list has grown to 42 items with18 new or updated tools. Please comment with your own perspective on these tools and send me links for more! Ill update the list (hopefully more frequently) with your suggestions.

Tomorrow Ill be leading aworkshop at UX Week titled Making Things. Yep, you guessed it, well be breaking out laptops and building prototypes! As of right now, theres still four spots available, so either sign up for the workshop if you are already aUX Weekattendee orregisterfor the last two days of the conference (use the promo code blog for 10% off).

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Dan Harrelson (dot com) Blog Archive &raqu

[] just updated my list of rapid prototyping tools over on the Adaptive Path blog. 18 new items were either updated or added (mostly []

Great list Ive been an avid Balsamiq user for the past year but Im going to have a look at some of these.

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

WireframeSketcher is a wireframing plugin for Eclipse. Also works with Aptana Studio, Flex Builder and other Eclipse-based tools. Its available for $75. Open-source developers and other do-gooders can get a free license key.

Just what i was looking for although slight shame the embedded google doc iframe made your wonderful list hard to read!

Hi there, theres a little error on the Balsamiq Platform cell. Mockups correct platform are: web, win, mac, linux, confluence, jira, xwiki, fogbugz

Stephan, thanks for the suggestion to make the list easier to read. I added a link to thefull spreadsheetin the post body.

I havent used anything quicker than Balsamiq, but am looking at SmartDraw as a mockup tool. It might be one to add to this list too.

[] Adaptive Path []

Would be great to see HotGloo listed. If you need any further informations just let me know.

Im actually wotking with another tool thats worth considering for rapid prototyping of engaging online experiences. Its called Sprout Builder.

[] I continue with presenting the prototype, I just want to point you to Dan Harrelsons post, who also lists Flex as means for prototyping, just in case that you think that Flex might be too []

Great list! For prototyping with dynamic effects and animations, and without any coding, Expression Blend/Sketchflow and Fireworks are way ahead of the others. Maybe Adobe Catalyst will join them when it gets out of beta. Have I missed any serious contenders in this class?

I tried Flex; without programming knowledge I found it impossible to use. Ditto for Dreamweaver.

Powerpoint actually has some amazing transition and animation capabilities; its a good introduction to effects for beginners.

[] day. In the meanwhile Dan Harrelson at Adpative Path has a nice list of Prototyping Tools in his article. Many are mentioned in this post since they do double duty.  Here then are a few products and []

[] Rapid Prototyping Tools Revisited- Adaptive Path, September 16, 2009 []

Balsamiq Mockups is for desktop too through Adobe Air. Its great little app!

[] Rapid Prototyping Tools Revisited ) []

Heres another tool for your list:

Its a plug-in for Microsoft Visio which can generate clickable prototypes AND makes wireframing way faster & more fun. Check it out and let me know what you think!

[] []

[] En resumen, actualmente existen mltiples herramientas para crear wireframes estticos y prototipos clickables. Puedes encontrar una amplia tabla resumen en en este articulo de Dan Harrelson. []

[] Prototyping Rapid Prototyping Tools []

Axure RP Pro is now available on Mac.

Mockflowis a Flash-based Online-Tool for Mockups. Theres also an AIR-Application available, that can be synchronized with your online version.

[] []