Rapid prototyping is the realization of an idea into a physical object in order to provide a representative of a finished product using rapid prototyping technologies to allow for appraisal and design modifications. The First rapid prototyping machine was first made available to markets in late 1987 meaning it is a relatively recent development. Rapid prototyping began as an expensive tool for manufacturing a physical model for design engineers to use to visualize their component designs. However in recent years the technology has advance so much that it is becoming cheaper to produce a component. (1)
The aim of this report is to provide an insight to rapid prototyping technologies by discussing various methods and provide the advantages and disadvantages of rapid prototyping itself.
2.0. Generic Rapid Prototyping Process
The basic steps in a rapid prototype process can be summarized into the following:
1. Construct a CAD model based on the desired design.
2. Convert the CAD model to and .STL file by slicing the model into layers.
3. Building on the rapid prototyping machine
4. Support material is removed and the model is finished and cleaned.
2.1. CAD Model Construction
A component or model is constructed on a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program. This model will represent the desired physical rendering part to be built. This model must be built with closed surfaces which defines an enclosed volume. This means that the data must specify the inside, outside and other characteristic boundaries of the model, but this does not apply if the model itself is meant to be a solid as a valid solid model will automatically be an enclosed volume. This requirement ensures that all horizontal ...
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