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Publication - Professor Ben Hicks

    Hybrid Prototyping

    Pure Theory or a Practical Solution to Accelerating Prototyping Tasks?


    Mathias, D, Snider, C & Hicks, B, 2019, ‘Hybrid Prototyping: Pure Theory or a Practical Solution to Accelerating Prototyping Tasks?’.


    Physical prototyping is critical activity in the produce development process, but the cost and time required to produce prototypes hinders it use in the design process. Hybrid prototyping through coupling LEGO and FDM printing is presented as an approach to address these issues. After establishing the separate design rules for FDM printing and LEGO, this paper created new set of rules called Design for Fabrication (DfF) for hybrid prototyping. These cover the three main considerations (Technical, Process, and Design) that the designer and process planning must include to practically implement LEGO and FDM hybrid prototyping. The DfF rules were considered in a prototype of a computer mouse. While the fabrication time was not reduced as expected, it showed that the rules could be practically implemented in a real-world example. Additional considerations were identified that are to be included in the DfF rules.

    Further work is required to realise the predicted step-change reduction in fabrication time. The first approach is to leverage multiple printers to parallelise the printing. The second is to reduce fidelity while maintaining high fidelity in key regions of interest.

    Full details in the University publications repository