Building a prototype is one of the activities that being practiced by physical form designers. The process of building a prototype involve serious commitment of time, whether it is a simple product (phone casing) or a full-fledge quadcopter.
Depending on the purpose of the prototype, a designer can choose from several methods available. There exists some prototype such as ‘visual prototype’, ‘form study prototype’ or ‘proof of concept prototype’.
When focusing on designing physical objects, the most versatile method to come to the realization of the prototypes above is the 3D printing technology. One might argue that for visual and form study prototype, a low cost clay can be used. However since the visual and form study prototype are mostly can be done via computer-aided-design software. Through the use of 3D printing technology, one can instantly proof the concept of a new design could work via its physical movements and validating its use instantly.
Recommended 3D Printers.
I’d say from my experience, I would recommend Flashforge line of products. The one that I’m currently using is the FlashForge Creator. It’s inexpensive, sturdy and for this one and a half year I have been using them everyday to build my working quadrotor/tricopter vehicle without fail.