Rapid Prototyping
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09-07-2010, 04:31 PM

Hi.... im gonna do my project and implimentation in RPT, now im in blank mind on topics can any help me in it, thru suggesting me some topics...... even thru [/size]akilan.mech@gmail.com r 9943894638.....
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23-09-2010, 03:33 PM


to know more about Rapid Prototyping please click the link below:
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22-05-2013, 04:07 PM

Rapid Prototyping

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Machining is a subtractive process, beginning with a solid piece of stock. The machinist must carefully remove material until the desired geometry is achieved. For complex part geometries, this is an exhaustive, time consuming, and expensive process. Some parts are even too complex to be machined.
Rapid Prototyping is a method in which the part is created by a layer-additive process. Using a specialized software, a 3-D CAD model is cut into very thin layers or cross-sections. Then, depending on the specific method used, the RP machine constructs the part layer by layer until a solid replica of the CAD model is generated. Material selection is also method specific.
The advantages of this process is clear: development of physical models can be accomplished in significantly less time as compared to the machining process. Some other applications of these technologies include development of molds and toolings. Additionally, in the medical field, the convergence of medical imaging, CAD, and RP has made it possible to quickly develop medical models

Overview of Rapid Prototyping:

The term rapid prototyping (RP) refers to a class of technologies that can automatically construct physical models from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) data. These "three dimensional printers" allow designers to quickly create tangible prototypes of their designs, rather than just two-dimensional pictures. Such models have numerous uses. They make excellent visual aids for communicating ideas with co-workers or customers. In addition, prototypes can be used for design testing. For example, an aerospace engineer might mount a model airfoil in a wind tunnel to measure lift and drag forces. Designers have always utilized prototypes; RP allows them to be made faster and less expensively.In addition to prototypes, RP techniques can also be used to make tooling (referred to as rapid tooling) and even production-quality parts (rapid manufacturing). For small production runs and complicated objects, rapid prototyping is often the best manufacturing process available. Of course, "rapid" is a relative term. Most prototypes require from three to seventy-two hours to build, depending on the size and complexity of the object. This may seem slow, but it is much faster than the weeks or months required to make a prototype by traditional means such as machining. These dramatic time savings allow manufacturers to bring products to market faster and more cheaply. In 1994, Pratt & Whitney achieved "an order of magnitude [cost] reduction [and] . . . time savings of 70 to 90 percent" by incorporating rapid prototyping into their investment casting process. 5

The Basic Process

Although several rapid prototyping techniques exist, all employ the same basic five-step process. The steps are:
1. Create a CAD model of the design
2. Convert the CAD model to STL format
3. Slice the STL file into thin cross-sectional layers
4. Construct the model one layer atop another
5. Clean and finish the model

CAD Model Creation:

First, the object to be built is modeled using a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software package. Solid modelers, such as Pro/ENGINEER, tend to represent 3-D objects more accurately than wire-frame modelers such as AutoCAD, and will therefore yield better results. The designer can use a pre-existing CAD file or may wish to create one expressly for prototyping purposes. This process is identical for all of the RP build techniques.
Conversion to STL Format: The various CAD packages use a number of different algorithms to represent solid objects. To establish consistency, the STL (stereolithography, the first RP technique) format has been adopted as the standard of the rapid prototyping industry. The second step, therefore, is to convert the CAD file into STL format. This format represents a three-dimensional surface as an assembly of planar triangles, "like the facets of a cut jewel." 6 The file contains the coordinates of the vertices and the direction of the outward normal of each triangle. Because STL files use planar elements, they cannot represent curved surfaces exactly. Increasing the number of triangles improves the approximation, but at the cost of bigger file size. Large, complicated files require more time to pre-process and build, so the designer must balance accuracy with manageablility to produce a useful STL file. Since the .stl format is universal, this process is identical for all of the RP build techniques.


Patented in 1986, stereolithography started the rapid prototyping revolution. The technique builds three-dimensional models from liquid photosensitive polymers that solidify when exposed to ultraviolet light. As shown in the figure below, the model is built upon a platform situated just below the surface in a vat of liquid epoxy or acrylate resin. A low-power highly focused UV laser traces out the first layer, solidifying the model’s cross section while leaving excess areas liquid.Next, an elevator incrementally lowers the platform into the liquid polymer. A sweeper re-coats the solidified layer with liquid, and the laser traces the second layer atop the first. This process is repeated until the prototype is complete. Afterwards, the solid part is removed from the vat and rinsed clean of excess liquid. Supports are broken off and the model is then placed in an ultraviolet oven for complete curing.Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) machines have been made since 1988 by 3D Systems of Valencia, CA. To this day, 3D Systems is the industry leader, selling more RP machines than any other company. Because it was the first technique, stereolithography is regarded as a benchmark by which other technologies are judged.

Laminated Object Manufacturing

In this technique, developed by Helisys of Torrance, CA, layers of adhesive-coated sheet material are bonded together to form a prototype. The original material consists of paper laminated with heat-activated glue and rolled up on spools. As shown in the figure below, a feeder/collector mechanism advances the sheet over the build platform, where a base has been constructed from paper and double-sided foam tape. Next, a heated roller applies pressure to bond the paper to the base. A focused laser cuts the outline of the first layer into the paper and then cross-hatches the
excess area (the negative space in the prototype). Cross-hatching breaks up the extra material, making it easier to remove during post-processing. During the build, the excess material provides excellent support for overhangs and thin-walled sections. After the first layer is cut, the platform lowers out of the way and fresh material is advanced. The platform rises to slightly below the previous height, the roller bonds the second layer to the first, and the laser cuts the second layer. This process is repeated as needed to build the part, which will have a wood-like texture. Because the models are made of paper, they must be sealed and finished with paint or varnish to prevent moisture damage.Helisys developed several new sheet materials, including plastic, water-repellent paper, and ceramic and metal powder tapes. The powder tapes produce a "green" part that must be sintered for maximum strength. As of 2001, Helisys is no longer in business

Fused Deposition Modeling

In this technique, filaments of heated thermoplastic are extruded from a tip that moves in the x-y plane. Like a baker decorating a cake, the controlled extrusion head deposits very thin beads of material onto the build platform to form the first layer. The platform is maintained at a lower temperature, so that the thermoplastic quickly hardens. After the platform lowers, the extrusion head deposits a second layer upon the first. Supports are built along the way, fastened to the part either with a second, weaker material or with a perforated junction. Stratasys, of Eden Prairie, MN makes a variety of FDM machines ranging from fast concept modelers to slower, high-precision machines. Materials include ABS (standard and medical grade), elastomer (96 durometer), polycarbonate, polyphenolsulfone, and investment casting wax.

Applications of Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is widely used in the automotive, aerospace, medical, and consumer products industries. Although the possible applications are virtually limitless, nearly all fall into one of the following categories: prototyping, rapid tooling, or rapid manufacturing.


As its name suggests, the primary use of rapid prototyping is to quickly make prototypes for communication and testing purposes. Prototypes dramatically improve communication because most people, including engineers, find three-dimensional objects easier to understand than two-dimensional drawings. Such improved understanding leads to substantial cost and time savings. As Pratt & Whitney executive Robert P. DeLisle noted: "We’ve seen an estimate on a complex product drop by $100,000 because people who had to figure out the nature of the object from 50 blueprints could now see it." 13 Effective communication is especially important in this era of concurrent engineering. By exchanging prototypes early in the design stage, manufacturing can

Rapid Manufacturing

A natural extension of RP is rapid manufacturing (RM), the automated production of salable products directly from CAD data. Currently only a few final products are produced by RP machines, but the number will increase as metals and other materials become more widely available. RM will never completely replace other manufacturing techniques, especially in large production runs where mass-production is more economical.For short production runs, however, RM is much cheaper, since it does not require tooling. RM is also ideal for producing custom parts tailored to the user’s exact specifications. A University of Delaware research project and implimentation uses a digitized 3-D model of a person’s head to construct a custom-fitted helmet. 23 NASA is experimenting with using RP machines to produce spacesuit gloves fitted to each astronaut’s hands. 24 From tailored golf club grips to custom dinnerware, the possibilities are endless.The other major use of RM is for products that simply cannot be made by subtractive (machining, grinding) or compressive (forging, etc.) processes. This includes objects with complex features, internal voids, and layered structures. Specific Surface of Franklin, MA uses RP to manufacture complicated ceramic filters that have eight times the interior surface area of older types. The filters remove particles from the gas emissions of coal-fired power plants. 25 Therics, Inc. of NYC is using RP’s layered build style to develop "pills that release measured drug doses at specified times during the day" and other medical products. 26

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