The Importance of 3D Printing for the Future of Rapid Prototyping Services

At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, we have a widespread network of several facilities that house a broad range of high-powered, precision-based machining, prototyping, and assembling tools and equipment. Our staff of engineers, technicians, project managers, and other important team members is highly skilled and capable of handling any production process in the industries we serve. Because we manufacture for such a large variety of industries, from aerospace and defense to semiconductors, it’s important for all our projects to start with a good foundation. A solid foundation for the project movement down the production line begins in the prototyping stages. We provide comprehensive prototyping services with computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software and computerized numerical control (CNC) technology, experienced engineering teams, and 3D (three-dimensional) printing systems. For the future of prototyping processes, especially for rapid prototyping, 3D printing/additive manufacturing may be one of the most important technological capabilities.

3D printing allows the process of prototyping, which historically relies on CAD/CAM or tooling systems to become faster and more straightforward.

What are rapid prototyping services?

Rapid prototyping using 3D printing as the method of fabrication essentially operates on a three-stage cycle. The first step is the digital prototype creation with our versatile engineering software. Next our team reviews the part, including diagnostics, testing, and other analyses. Finally, we adjust the prototype based on the data we collect in the review stage, refining and reiterating the part until it is perfect.

Rapid prototyping with 3D printing allows us to move through these cycles very quickly with minimal materials wasted, and lower energy and labor costs. That faster movement through the cycle means clients get results sooner, can provide their own direct feedback, and see reduced expenses overall.

Why use 3D printing?

In today’s industrial world, the term rapid prototyping is often synonymous with “3D printing” or “additive manufacturing.” That’s because without the capabilities 3D printers provide, rapid prototyping would not be possible. 3D printers are precise, they move quickly, and the polymer materials printed cure almost instantly. This means that 3D printing can get your protype from a digital format to a physical one in a matter of minutes. Wait times for other prototyping processes and the time it takes to reiterate through the same slow process are both eliminated with 3D printing.

Traditional wait times with other prototyping services can take months. Some more complex components may even take years for a final prototype design to be developed. With 3D printing, those wait times are slashed to weeks or even days.

Not only is 3D printing faster, but it’s also cost-effective when it comes to materials and other production costs. To learn more about our rapid prototyping services and the benefits they provide, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. You can also request more information or request a quote to get started with us today.

Introducing MultiSource Fast Track for Rapid Prototyping

MultiSource Manufacturing LLC is announcing the initiation of a new prototyping division, MultiSource Fast Track, that will provide OEMs and other customers with more streamlined and best quality prototyping and engineering capabilities. MultiSource Fast Track offers three tiers of rapid prototyping services; Fast Track, Fast Track Plus+, and Premier Production. Each tier is suited to specific project needs regarding lead times, technology, materials, and complexity, but all tiers offer precision-based value engineering and partnership with our expert engineers and technicians. The foundation of MultiSource Fast Track is the ideal of early supplier involvement with value engineering for effective prototyping.


In the MultiSource network, we believe that effective prototyping is the most important part of the manufacturing process. A quality prototype saves time, money, and stress. Because of the importance of effective prototyping, we established MultiSource Fast Track to address client specifications, schedule, and budget in a comprehensive system that offers three major benefits:


  1. Value Engineering: With all tiers of MultiSource Fast Track, our engineers work on the basis of “design for manufacturing” (DFM). Utilizing DFM practices to engineer a prototype ensures an effective and streamlined manufacturing process every time. For materials including stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, multiple plastics, and many other metals, MultiSource engineers can provide value engineering strategies that guarantees quality results in manufacturing. No matter how complex or simple client needs are for prototypes of components and assemblies, value engineering and DFM are built into the prototyping process at all tiers of MultiSource Fast Track.


  1. Speed: Another primary benefit of MultiSource Fast Track is the speed of our engineers and technicians in the prototyping process. With lead times as fast as two weeks, MultiSource engineers can design an effective prototype with a range of materials from steel to plastics and with the manufacturing abilities of multiple machines. Rapid prototype results are critical for meeting early supplier involvement and value engineering goals as well as moving a project forward.


  1. Collaboration: Last but not least, this main benefit of our MultiSource Fast Track prototyping division is the direct collaboration with our team of skilled engineers and highly experienced technicians. Continued communication and partnership throughout a project are the most effective ways to get quality results. MultiSource Fast Track offers joint value analysis and value engineering with open sharing of information, ideas, process requirements, costs, and design. We want clients to trust in our team and enjoy collaboration in the MultiSource Fast Track process.


The MultiSource Fast Track prototyping division is our dedication to provide OEMs and other customers with rapid designs that give quality results in component and assembly fabrication. To learn more about the new MultiSource Fast Track program and about all our prototyping services, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. Request more information, or request a quote to get started with us today.



Quality Control from Start to Finish in the Prototyping and Final Inspection Process

At MultiSource Manufacturing LLC, our network of multiple facilities across the upper Midwest serves a wide range of industries. From the rocketry components we fabricate that are selectively used by aerospace and defense customers to the financial processing assemblies used daily in retail centers across the globe, our products affect a broad number of industries. Because of the range of products and assemblies we create for OEMs in several industries, we understand the importance of quality control (QC) at every stage of the production process. From the beginning stages of design and prototyping to the final tests and inspections, MultiSource engineers, technicians, and other team members are dedicated to supporting QC and improving our practices on a daily basis.


In order to support QC in the production process and promote continued improvement across the board, MultiSource facilities are well outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment operated by skilled and knowledgeable team members. Each of our six locations provides standard prototyping programs, computer numeric control (CNC) machines, and assembly equipment as well as specialized tools for complex or unusual projects.


Our QC standards are applied to every step of the production process, and a standard part will move through that process and pass through each operation with thorough QC inspections.


Part Movement from Prototyping to Shipment


  1. Design and Prototyping: Before production begins, our engineering team works with the customer to develop a drawing with computer-aided design (CAD) programming and runs virtual simulations to test the function. Then we create a prototype and run additional simulations. When these prototypes pass QC inspections, the fabrication process begins.
  2. Component Fabrication: MultiSource utilizes CNC machining centers for horizontal, vertical, and multi-axis part manufacturing in addition to specialty mills, lathes, and Swiss CNC machines.
  3. Component Finishing: To complete components before assembling, our technicians employ a wide range of finishing services, including heat treating, anodizing, grinding, bead blasting, fastener insertion, honing, laser marking, and more.
  4. Assembly: Our assembly technicians provide standard mechanical assembly as well as electronic and electromechanical assemblies. The precision and quality of machined components is critical for an effective, reliable assembly.
  5. Assembly Finishing: Fine-tuning, cleaning, lubricating, and overall readying assemblies for integration into customer systems allows our team to begin final inspection and testing procedures.
  6. Inspections and Testing:  The final inspections are one of the most vital QC processes we apply to all components and assemblies before they leave our facilities. Our testing processes include non-invasive tests, such as thermography or vibration analysis, as well as invasive testing, such as stress limit testing, when needed.
  7. Packing and Shipping: When a component or full assembly passes our QC inspections and all applied tests with 100% accuracy, our packaging and shipping team can pull, pack, and ship our products to OEMs and other customers around the globe.


To learn more about our QC practices and standards from the start of prototyping to the end of inspections, contact MultiSource at (952) 456-5500. You can request more information and also request a quote online.

What We Learn about a Part from the CNC Prototyping Process

When it comes to manufacturing precision-based components and assemblies, planning ahead is key. Planning ahead for precision machining entails highly rigorous and exacting prototype fabrication. The prototype created for any given precision machining project will inform engineers and technicians throughout the production process as a whole, whether it be a component or full assembly. At MultiSource Manufacturing, LLC, we provide in-house CNC prototyping for all components and assemblies that we manufacture for a wide range of industries.

With multiple locations fully outfitted for state-of-the-art CNC machining and our team of skilled engineers, the MultiSource network has both the equipment and workers necessary to build high-quality, precise prototypes. Creating these prototypes gives our engineers the opportunity to learn everything they need to know about the parts they will manufacture.

Utilizing the CNC prototyping process as a learning opportunity, our engineers are able to gain information about a part, including the following:


  1. Three-dimensional geometric properties of a component and a full assembly that follow the exact specifications and needs of our customers
  2. Which materials will be best suited to the design of a part or full assembly
  3. Demands of the function the part will perform and how the part will meet those demands
  4. Limitations of a part or full assembly, given its form, function, and material
  5. How the part and full assembly will react to certain stresses, factoring in both daily and unexpected stresses
  6. Which machining centers and operations will be best suited to an efficient, quality manufacturing process
  7. What additional finishing operations will be needed to complete the part or full assembly production
  8. How to safely package and ship a part or full assembly with reduced waste
  9. How customers can easily and effectively integrate a part or full assembly into their own operation systems or products


In a nutshell, our CNC prototyping builds a complete foundation for any part or full assembly made in MultiSource facilities. The prototype we build must be exact to the final production piece because it will tell our engineering team everything it needs to know to build a reliable, high-quality precision-based part or full assembly.

With over 20 years of experience designing, prototyping, and manufacturing high-quality machined parts and building assemblies, the MultiSource network is an industry-leading provider for OEMs and other customers across the country.

Get started with MultiSource Manufacturing, LLC, and request a quote today, or request more information about all of our services, including CNC prototyping!