Rapid Prototyping – The Fastest Growing Industry for Manufacturing

Rapid prototyping is a collection of techniques used to construct a scale model of a physical part or group of parts. It uses 3D CAD data. 3D painting is used to construct the part or group of parts. This technique is also known as solid free-form manufacturing; computer automated manufacturing, and layered manufacturing.

The technique of rapid prototyping was developed in the USA in the 1980′s. Rapid Prototyping is also known as solid free-form manufacturing or computer automated manufacturing or layered manufacturing. In the 1980′s the supremacy that USA had in the field of machine tool manufacturing was being contested. So they started experimenting with new techniques for faster and more effective production. Thus the Rapid prototyping system was found and soon it was being used all over the world. More recently this technique has been used to very good effects by China to increase their production rate. In China Rapid prototyping services are now being provided by a number of companies which use rapid prototyping for mold making.

There are many reasons for the increased use of this technique. The most important feature of this technique is that it decreases product manufacturing time and also decreases the overall cost required to manufacture a product. Along with that it also makes the product better as many modifications can be put in the product during its manufacturing. This also increases the lifetime of a product. In this technique the mistakes made in the manufacturing of the product can be corrected very early, so its relatively inexpensive. This increases the number of various types of products.

There is a basic methodology of this process. The basic feature of this technique is that it provides a visual model. This enables the designers to evaluate the design correctly and thus the dimensions of the model are marked correctly. To provide the visual design, a CAD model is constructed and then it is converted to .STL format. The machine used for the process then accesses the .STL file and divides the model into thin layers. The first layer is then created and then another layer is created and placed on the top of the first layer. This process is continuously repeated until the model is created. The model is then removed and finishing touches are applied to it.

There are two ways of creating the model. One is the Stereolithography technique known as the SLA technique and the other is the Selective Laser Sintering technique known as the SLS technique. In the SLA technique liquid or any other pliable material is used to make the model. In the SLS technique heated powder is used to make the model. The heated powder can be of. Nylon, polystyrene or alumide resins. Both techniques have their own benefits. The SLS technique provides better lifetime to the product along with good structural properties. The SLA technique provides good finishing to the product.

The Rapid prototyping technique has many benefits which has seen a rise of the use of technique in manufacturing and better production rates.

Post time: 04-20-2017