A foam prototype or a foam model is a great way to show customers the product being developed, from the idea stage to the processing phase, prior to the end product.
Foam prototype is different than rapid prototyping, the latest being 3D printing application, also known as additive manufacturing.
Here is a photo of a foam bath tub prototype made for an architectural company prior to them creating the expensive mold of the real tub - They showed this to their customer for their approval or changes as a first phase.
Foam prototyping is a good tool for revealing design flaws that might have not have been detected in the 3D CAD file phase, thus enables us to correct any mistakes prior to production of the end product. It also gives us a realistic preview of the design scale.
It is always a good idea to present the customers with a few rough foam models and prototypes, so that they can evaluate and make the changes needed to the design and/or the material used prior to fabrication of the final product.
The foam prototype / model, being a foam version for whatever purpose we need, can save us a great deal of money in development and reduce the marketing time.
The prototype, mostly being a 3D shape is typically CNC machined from a CAD data file on a CNC router, using materials such as EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), XPS (Extruded Polystyrene), EPP (Expanded Polypropylene), PE (Polyethylene), PU (Urethane tooling foam), Renshape, EVA, MDF, as well as plastics, acrylics, wood and aluminum light metals.
Once machined, the prototype can either be left in its raw foam state or can be hard coated and/or painted as needed. If a more realistic look is required it can also be hand carved, and graphics, labels and stickers can be added.
Foam prototyping and modeling can be applied to a small or a regular size product, but also for large-scale ones, including vehicles, aircrafts, boats, architectural models and landscapes, topographical maps, large theme park characters, theaters and movie large props, museum exhibits, sculptures and statues. It is imperative for all manufacturing industries, especially for automotive, Aviation & Aerospace, Marine, Industrial Equipment and Medical.