Rendering of a portable speaker broken out into individual parts that make up a prototype


Nothing communicates ideas like a physical model that you can touch, evaluate fit, form and function.

How do Converters help create prototypes?

Making the first of its kind devices can present challenges. How do you ensure you're able to assemble all your prototype parts, make it functional and look professional? If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a prototype is worth 1,000 pictures. Converters employ digital converting techniques like laser, water jet, printers and plotters to make small runs of parts to enable you to prototype and test your design.

When you're ready to graduate to production, converters can leverage their precision high volume processes to make you successful.

  • Icon of a digital shape design
    Design Ideas

    Going from a back of the napkin sketch to making your first mock up and prototypes can be challenging. Converters have the expertise in materials and processes to help you at every stage of your journey.

  • Icon of three different sheets of materials overlayed on top of each other
    Material Selection

    Converters can help determine what materials will work best for your needs. When you've selected your materials, converters can help you at every level of production.

  • Icon of a sheet of material with six holes cut out and two of the holes removed from the material
    Prototype Samples

    Identify any design, manufacturing or operational issues before beginning full-scale production.

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    Fabrication Speed

    Converters can help put the "rapid" in rapid prototyping. Their digital capabilities can take you from drawing to part within hours, and to your doorstep the next morning.

  • An icon shows an assembly process with arrows pointing down to demonstrate the assembly process

    Converters can assist you with assembly from the early stages to full rate production with small prototype samples or die cut shapes on a roll that enable mass production.

  • An icon showing a laser cutting tool cutting blocks
    High Volume Production

    When you're ready to go to production, Converters can supply you with the parts and volumes you need.

A drafting board is shown with plotter cutter and other prototyping tools.
3M Converter Markets

No matter how complex the challenge is, 3M Converter Markets can help provide a solution.

  • Icon of laser printer printing a prototype
  • Typical Prototyping Techniques

    o Laser
    o Water jet
    o Plotter cutter (Zünd, Gerber, etc.)
    o CNC router
    o Soft tooling, higher precision than digital (chem-etched, mag dies, steel rule dies)
    o Printing

  • Examples of Commonly Prototyped Applications

    o Gaskets
    o EMI/RFI
    o Attachment
    o Surface protection
    o Badging / Identification / Durable graphics
    o Noise reduction
    o Membrane switches

  • Icon of drafting paper and drafting tools
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Connect with 3M Experts

Learn more about how the process works, and let us connect you with the right partner and products for your needs.