How Important is Rapid Prototyping in Engineering?

by Angel Waldrop

Rapid machining refers to a broad group of methods used to fabricate a model or part of a product via 3-dimensional computer-aided design. 3D printing technology is applicable to the construction of this part. The first method of rapid prototyping was discovered in the late 1980s, and by then, it was used to design and manufacture top-notch products. Currently, they are useful in a broad range of applications. These applications include the manufacture of production-quality parts in small numbers in engineering. Here is a detailed rundown of applications of rapid manufacturing in engineering.

1. Engineering and Rapid Prototyping

Engineering is a design process with a broad range of activities aligned in a certain order with particular input and outputs. The technique is an iterative supporting some decision-making activities. Every activity in engineering involves input. The input is transformed into an invaluable output, usually defined by various design specifications.

The process is considered to be effective, given that it satisfies customer requirements. It also meets managerial activities while meeting customer deadlines at a small cost. Thus, establishing objectives coupled with criteria and analysis, are activities considered to be fundamental elements in the design process.

2. Traditional Rapid Prototyping Methods for Mechanical Parts Fused Deposition Modelling in Engineering

Fused deposition modeling involves the extrusion of a thermoplastic polyester using a small nozzle that forms various sections. It is a speedy process that facilitates the creation of units that need machining.

 It also offers a platform for new prospects in medicine and engineering. This makes it a broadly applicable printing technology in 3D. Additionally, FDM has several applications ranging from consumer products to processing.

3. Stereolithography in Engineering

A photo-curing resin inserted in a liquid is transformed into a solid using an ultraviolet laser in stereolithography. The solidification is carried out layer-by-layer. This goes on until the part is complete.

One of the advantages of stereolithography is that it is cost-effective and rapid. It also yields a physical vision of the said engineering project design.

4. Laminated Object Manufacturing in Engineering

Laminated object manufacturing is a process that allows additive building parts to be stacked on each other. Every layer is diced to an ideal shape using a laser beam. An adhesive is then activated using a heated roller. It laminates various layers at a temperature range of 60 degrees to 80 degrees.

5. Laser Consolidation in Engineering

Laser consolidation refers to a computer-aided manufacturing technique used to develop industrial materials. It is an alternative to traditional machining. That is why it is used to build net-shaped parts on existing parts by adding material rather than removing them.

The active part of a laser consolidated material is reported. The observation of the unique microstructure in the laser consolidated material is highlighted during the process.

Final Thoughts

Rapid prototyping is a primary technique in improving project management times. It offers excellent competitiveness in industrial businesses. It also allows firms to study the market better and verify every part’s character right before the preliminary products. Hopefully, this chapter of rapid machining and prototyping has been useful to your course work.

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