Rapid prototyping

Rapid prototyping is a collection of techniques which quickly produce a 3D model of an object.

The rapid prototyping process starts with a 3D digital model of the object. This is usually produced with 3D digital modelling software, but it may also come from a 3D scanning device. The digital model is then sent to a 3D printer to produce the prototype. The advantages of using rapid prototyping techniques are increased, speed, efficiency, fewer errors in the work and easy production of complex shapes that are difficult to produce with tradition 3d printing techniques. Since the model is stored in digital form it is also possible to distribute the prototype to various locations instantly. Obviously, though, the objects can only be produced with 3D printing polymer materials.


Parts produced with a rapid prototyping system

As 3D printing technology becomes cheaper and more readily available, individuals are beginning to download digital models from the internet and printing them locally. An industry is starting to develop around producing items in this way for sale. Recently, there has also been news coverage of people downloading digital models of single use projectile weapons and producing them locally.

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