This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Rapid Prototyping Technology is a group of manufacturing processes that enable the direct physical realization of 3D computer models. This technology converts the 3D computer data provided by a dedicated file format directly to a physical model, layer by layer with a high degree of accuracy. This technology is fast developing and is more than competitive to traditional model building techniques considering time and degree of detail. The paper gives an overview on existing major RP techniques and their applications in engineering fields.
1. Introduction 2. Overview 3. The basic process 4. Rapid prototyping techniques 5. Applications 6. 7. 8. 9. RPT vs. conventional technologies Future developments Conclusion References
3 . the better for this developing process. investment of time and money is less risky. Using these technologies. Rapid Prototyping Technologies and Rapid Manufacturing offer great potential for producing models and unique parts for manufacturing industry. Not everything that is thinkable today is already workable or available at a reasonable price. the reliability of products can be increased. Thus. manufacturing time for parts of virtually any complexity is reduced considerably. it is rapid. In other words.Introduction The past decade has witnessed the emergence of new manufacturing technologies that build parts on a layer-by-layer basis. but this technology is fast evolving and the better the challenges.
In contrast. etc. Rapid prototyping is an "additive" process. In addition to prototypes. This may seem slow. 4 . RP techniques can also be used to make tooling (referred to as rapid tooling) and even production-quality parts (rapid manufacturing). most machining processes (milling. but it is much faster than the weeks or months required to make a prototype by traditional means such as machining. combining layers of paper. grinding. These dramatic time savings allow manufacturers to bring products to market faster and more cheaply. dimension and finish can be directly generated from the CAD based geometrical model stored in a computer. rapid prototyping is often the best manufacturing process available. drilling. For small production runs and complicated objects.Overview The term Rapid prototyping (RP) refers to a class of technologies that can automatically construct physical models from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) data.) are "subtractive" processes that remove material from a solid block. wax. or plastic to create a solid object. with little human intervention. Most prototypes require from three to seventy-two hours to build. It is a free form fabrication technique by which a total object of prescribed shape. Of course. RP’s additive nature allows it to create objects with complicated internal features that cannot be manufactured by other means. "rapid" is a relative term. depending on the size and complexity of the object.
Create a CAD model of the design 2. Clean and finish the model CAD Model Creation: First. the first RP technique) format has been adopted as the standard of the rapid prototyping industry. Slice the STL file into thin cross-sectional layers 4. they cannot represent curved surfaces exactly. tend to represent 3-D objects more accurately than wire-frame modelers such as AutoCAD. Large. The second step. The designer can use a pre-existing CAD file or may wish to create one expressly for prototyping purposes. all employ the same basic five-step process. Construct the model one layer atop another 5. Conversion to STL Format: The various CAD packages use a number of different algorithms to represent solid objects. To establish consistency. so the designer must 5 . the object to be built is modeled using a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software package. the STL (stereolithography. The steps are: 1. is to convert the CAD file into STL format." 6 The file contains the coordinates of the vertices and the direction of the outward normal of each triangle. Increasing the number of triangles improves the approximation. but at the cost of bigger file size. therefore. complicated files require more time to pre-process and build. Solid modelers. Convert the CAD model to STL format 3. such as Pro/ENGINEER. This format represents a three-dimensional surface as an assembly of planar triangles. "like the facets of a cut jewel. and will therefore yield better results. Because STL files use planar elements. This process is identical for all of the RP build techniques.The Basic Process Although several rapid prototyping techniques exist.
sealing. Sanding. 6 . part orientation partially determines the amount of time required to build the model. Each PR machine manufacturer supplies their own proprietary pre-processing software. or powdered metal. Placing the shortest dimension in the z direction reduces the number of layers. properties of rapid prototypes vary from one coordinate direction to another. The program may also generate an auxiliary structure to support the model during the build. First. Supports are useful for delicate features such as overhangs.balance accuracy with manageability to produce a useful STL file. Layer by Layer Construction: The fourth step is the actual construction of the part. Some photosensitive materials need to be fully cured before use. Several programs are available. Using one of several techniques (described in the next section) RP machines build one layer at a time from polymers.01 mm to 0. Most machines are fairly autonomous. Slice the STL File: In the third step.7 mm thick. and/or painting the model will improve its appearance and durability. this process is identical for all of the RP build techniques. and most allow the user to adjust the size. Prototypes may also require minor cleaning and surface treatment. This involves removing the prototype from the machine and detaching any supports. paper. a pre-processing program prepares the STL file to be built. Build orientation is important for several reasons. The pre-processing software slices the STL model into a number of layers from 0. In addition. location and orientation of the model. depending on the build technique. and thin-walled sections. thereby shortening build time. prototypes are usually weaker and less accurate in the z (vertical) direction than in the x-y plane. needing little human intervention. internal cavities. For example. Since the STL format is universal. Clean and Finish: The final step is post-processing.
the model is built upon a platform situated just below the surface in a vat of liquid epoxy or acrylate resin. solidifying the model’s cross section while leaving excess areas liquid. A low-power highly focused UV laser traces out the first layer. As shown in the figure below. The technique builds three-dimensional models from liquid photosensitive polymers that solidify when exposed to ultraviolet light. 3. 7 . trade restrictions severely limit the import/export of rapid prototyping machines. stereolithography started the rapid prototyping revolution. At present.Rapid Prototyping Techniques Most commercially available rapid prototyping machines use one of six techniques.S.1 Stereolithography Patented in 1986. so this guide only covers systems available in the U.
the platform lowers out of the way and fresh material is advanced. Cross-hatching breaks up the extra material. To this day. 3. but recent modifications have largely corrected these problems. The platform rises to slightly below the previous height. 7 Next. 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). and the laser cuts the second layer. This process is repeated until the prototype is complete. A sweeper re-coats the solidified layer with liquid. The original material consists of paper laminated with heat-activated glue and rolled up on spools. Afterwards. a heated roller applies pressure to bond the paper to the base. Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) machines have been made since 1988 by 3D Systems of Valencia. After the first layer is cut.2 Laminated Object Manufacturing In this technique. an elevator incrementally lowers the platform into the liquid polymer. During the build. Supports are broken off and the model is then placed in an ultraviolet oven for complete curing. selling more RP machines than any other company. which will have a wood-like 8 . 3D Systems is the industry leader.Figure 1: Schematic diagram of stereolithography. the roller bonds the second layer to the first. where a base has been constructed from paper and double-sided foam tape. stereolithography is regarded as a benchmark by which other technologies are judged. This process is repeated as needed to build the part. and the laser traces the second layer atop the first. Because it was the first technique. As shown in the figure below. a feeder/collector mechanism advances the sheet over the build platform. layers of adhesive-coated sheet material are bonded together to form a prototype. making it easier to remove during post-processing. the solid part is removed from the vat and rinsed clean of excess liquid. Next. the excess material provides excellent support for overhangs and thin-walled sections. Early stereolithography prototypes were fairly brittle and prone to curing-induced warpage and distortion. CA. CA. developed by Helisys of Torrance.
into a solid object. and ceramic and metal powder tapes. shown in Figure 3. selective laser sintering was patented in 1989. elastomer. they must be sealed and finished with paint or varnish to prevent moisture damage.3 Selective Laser Sintering Developed by Carl Deckard for his master’s thesis at the University of Texas. Parts are built upon a platform which sits just below the surface in a bin of the 9 .texture. 3. 8 Helisys developed several new sheet materials. water-repellent paper. The technique. Helisys is no longer in business. As of 2001. including plastic. Figure 2: Schematic diagram of laminated object manufacturing. Because the models are made of paper. such as nylon. and metal. The powder tapes produce a "green" part that must be sintered for maximum strength. uses a laser beam to selectively fuse powdered materials.
The platform is lowered by the height of the next layer and powder is reapplied. 9 3. A laser traces the pattern of the first layer. After the platform lowers. Supports are 10 . Excess powder in each layer helps to support the part during the build. Like a baker decorating a cake. TX. filaments of heated thermoplastic are extruded from a tip that moves in the x-y plane. SLS machines are produced by DTM of Austin. Figure 3: Schematic diagram of selective laser sintering. so that the thermoplastic quickly hardens.4 Fused Deposition Modeling In this technique. the controlled extrusion head deposits very thin beads of material onto the build platform to form the first layer. This process continues until the part is complete. the extrusion head deposits a second layer upon the first.heat-fusable powder. sintering it together. The platform is maintained at a lower temperature.
weaker material or with a perforated junction. SGC cures an entire layer at a time. fastened to the part either with a second. the machine develops a photomask (like a stencil) of the layer to be built.4 Solid Ground Curing Developed by Cubital. polyphenolsulfone. which is also known as the solider process. MN makes a variety of FDM machines ranging from fast concept modelers to slower. Unlike SLA. Stratasys. elastomer (96 durometer). Materials include ABS (standard and medical grade). solid ground curing (SGC) is somewhat similar to stereolithography (SLA) in that both use ultraviolet light to selectively harden photosensitive polymers. high-precision machines. First. and investment casting wax.built along the way. Figure 4: Schematic diagram of fused deposition modeling. Figure 5 depicts solid ground curing. photosensitive resin is sprayed on the build platform. Next. This photomask is printed on a glass 11 . 10 3. of Eden Prairie. polycarbonate.
3. The mask is then exposed to UV light. The machines are quite big and can produce large models.6 3-D Ink-Jet Printing Ink-Jet Printing refers to an entire class of machines that employ ink-jet technology. The first was 3D Printing (3DP). MI. The ZCorp 3D printer. Extrude Hone. by Cubital America Inc. When the part is complete.S. of Troy. The top surface is milled flat. Figure 5: Schematic diagram of solid ground curing. which only passes through the transparent portions of the mask to selectively harden the shape of the current layer. SGC machines are distributed in the U. and others.plate above the build platform using an electrostatic process similar to that found in photocopiers. it must be dewaxed by immersing it in a solvent bath. the machine vacuums up the excess liquid resin and sprays wax in its place to support the model during the build. 11 After the layer is cured. developed at MIT and licensed to Soligen Corporation. produced by Z Corporation of 12 . and then the process repeats to build the next layer.
Burlington. more powder added and leveled. ZCorp uses two different materials. Finished parts can be infiltrated with wax.. the print head can deposit an entire layer in one pass. Otherwise. After each layer. 3D Systems’ version of the ink-jet based system is called the Thermo-Jet or Multi-Jet Printer. the green part is then removed from the unbound powder. for investment casting applications) and a ceramic powder. CA glue. Unbound powder remains to support the part. allowing the machines to be used in the jewelry industry. a starch based powder (not as strong. It uses a linear array of print heads to rapidly produce thermoplastic models (Figure 6d). was developed by BPM Inc. and excess unbound powder is blown off. a cutting tool mills the top surface to uniform height. 13 . and produces parts with a slightly grainy surface. When finished. Ballistic particle manufacturing. the head makes several passes. but can be burned out. Machines with 4 color printing capability are available. If the part is narrow enough. MA is an example of this technology. depicted in Figure 6b. This yields extremely good accuracy. and the process repeated.1 mm. An ink-jet printing head selectively deposits or "prints" a binder fluid to fuse the powder together in the desired areas. As shown in Figure 6a. NH uses a different ink-jet technique in its Model Maker line of concept modelers. Typical layer thicknesses are on the order of 0. Sanders Prototype of Wilton. which has since gone out of business. This process is very fast. The platform is lowered. while the other prints wax to form supports. parts are built upon a platform situated in a bin full of powder material. or other sealants to improve durability and surface finish. One dispenses low-melt thermoplastic to make the model. The machines use two ink-jets (see Figure 6c).
12 14 .Figure 6: Schematic diagrams of ink-jet techniques.
for lighting conditions. Functional parts have been used for titanium casting have been made by RP techniques for parts in F1 racing cars Architecture The Department of Architecture at the University of Hongkong is applying Rapid Prototyping Technology for teaching students about the new possibilities in testing there draft.Another not yet mature idea is to have a RP machine on board of the International Space Station (ISS) to produce spare parts for repair jobs. Yet. The 15 . and consumer products industries Engineering The aerospace industry imposes stringent quality demands. Boeing's Rocketdyne has successfully used RP technology to manufacture hundreds of parts for the International Space Station and the space shuttle fleet.Applications of Rapid Prototyping Rapid prototyping is widely used in the automotive.g. clear plastic aligners can be produced in a customized mass process. The company also uses RP to manufacture parts for the military's F-18 fighter jet in glass-filled nylon . aerospace. medical. Medical Applications RPT has created a new market in the world of orthodontics. Using stereolithography technology custom-fit. One example is the Sidney Opera House. e. physical experiments etc. mechanical details. Models are widely used in automotive industry for design studies. The result is instrument shells that are stronger. Rigorous testing and certification is necessary before it is possible to use materials and processes for the manufacture of aerospace components. Appearance conscious adults can now have straighter teeth without the embarrassment of a mouth full of metal. fit better and are biocompatible to a very high degree. The RP world has made its entry into the hearing instrument world too.
In addition. an absolutely identical shell can be manufactured quickly. The original statue was digitized and a smaller model was produced to serve a base for a bronze casting process. or by hand. molds and dies are traditionally made by CNC-machining. 16 . Tools often have complex geometries. which suffer from environmental influences.5 micrometers root mean square). because of the extremely high quality required. The originals are scanned to derive the 3D data. damage to or loss of the ITE instrument.Thanks to the accuracy of the process. instrument shells are produced with high precision and reproducibility. tools must be hard. since the digital data are stored in the system. Rapid Tooling A much-anticipated application of rapid prototyping is rapid tooling. To meet these requirements. yet must be dimensionally accurate to within a hundredth of a millimeter. Tooling is one of the slowest and most expensive steps in the manufacturing process. One application is duplicating a statue . electrodischarge machining. In the case of repairs. and have very low surface roughness (about 0. the automatic fabrication of production quality machine tools.ear impression is scanned and digitized with an extremely accurate 3D scanner. Software specially developed for this converts the digital image into a virtual hearing instrument shell . All are expensive and time consuming. wear-resistant. This means the hearing instruments fit better and the need for remakes is reduced. damages can be corrected within the software and the duplicates can be created easily. so manufacturers would like to incorporate rapid prototyping techniques to speed the process. Arts and Archeology Selective Laser Sintering with marble powders can help to restore or duplicate ancient statues and ornaments.
It is assumed. one should regard RPT as one more option in the toolkit for manufacturing parts. Typical quantities 3. or even hand-made parts.RPTvs. Elasticity and Temperature Resistance. Figure 14 depicts a rough comparison between RPT and milling regarding the costs and time of manufacturing one part as a function of part complexity10. 2. that the part can be manufactured by either technology such that the material and tolerance requirements are met. Time Savings 5. Standard accuracy 4. evidently. conventional technologies RPT does not—and will not—replace completely conventional technologies such NC and high-speed milling. Advantages 1. Surface structure 17 . Rather. Strength.
are several developments that will help to revolutionize manufacturing as we know it. Another important development is increased size capacity. and improved materials. RP manufacturers are dramatically reducing build time. On the horizon. One such improvement is increased speed. Currently most RP machines are limited to objects 0. more complex control systems. represents another much anticipated development. though. Use any type of model Future developments Rapid prototyping is starting to change the way companies design and build products. In addition.125 cubic meters or less. Today’s commercially available machines are accurate to ~0. but less in the z (vertical) direction. RP companies are developing new polymers that will be less prone to curing and temperature-induced warpage. By using faster computers. ceramics. Improvements in laser optics and motor control should increase accuracy in all three directions. including metals. Cost 7. The introduction of non-polymeric materials. Another future development is improved accuracy and surface finish. These materials would allow RP users to produce functional parts. Larger parts must be built in sections 18 .08 millimeters in the x-y plane. "Rapid" prototyping machines are still slow by some standards. and composites.6.
Advances in computerized path planning. numeric control. 34 Such high material removal rates translate into short build times. 19 . several "large prototype" techniques are in the works. a combination of RP and the Internet that will allow designers to remotely submit designs for immediate manufacture.and joined by hand. To remedy this situation. particularly metals. Modern CNC machining centers can have spindle speeds of up to 100. the rise of rapid prototyping has spurred progress in traditional subtractive methods as well. Rapid prototyping will not make machining obsolete. Conclusion Finally. but rather complement it. and machine dynamics are increasing the speed and accuracy of machining. One future application is Distance Manufacturing on Demand.000 RPM. with correspondingly fast feed rates. For certain applications. machining will continue to be a useful manufacturing process.
www.com 3.com 20 .psu.References 1. www.rapidprototyping processes.alphaform.html 2.edu 4. www.mcpgroup. www.me.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.