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What is rapid prototyping?

What is rapid prototyping?

What is rapid prototyping? Rapid prototyping, 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing are all terms used to describe the process of depositing a material layer by layer to form a geometry without the use of tooling or machining. As a result it has become much easier, quicker and cost effective to design, iterate and develop parts.

The first commercial rapid prototyping technology was invented in the 1980’s by Chuck Hull. He was not only the founder of 3D Systems and the inventor of the SLA 3D printer, he was also responsible for the STL file format which is still used widely. Engineers, designers and creators have used the technology to aid their work, but only in the last ten years has there been a larger interest and willingness to consider the commercial benefits. The up swell in interest has also been aided by the plethora of alternative technologies like FDM, SLS and in particular the advent of desktop printers which had inherently lower in cost.

As there years have gone by the material development has been impressive, probably more so than the hardware itself. Material development has allow for parts to be used in more challenging environment and applications.

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