Rapid prototyping is a collection of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data. Construction of the part or assembly is usually done using 3D printing or “additive layer manufacturing” technology.
Rapid prototyping, also known as solid freeform fabrication, is an additive layering process. A three dimensional computer model of a parts sliced into layers by the SLS and SLA rapid prototyping systems computer program. Each slice is then fed to a processor which in turn directs a laser in X and Y axis directions, as well as controlling the beam output power, to cure or sinter through either UV laser (SLA) 0r CO2 laser(SLS) the cross section(slice) of the part. After the slice is completed the system’s build mechanism vertically repositions incrementally (Z vector),usually between 0.1mm per layer. This process is repeated until the vertical height of the part is completed. Build time can arrange from one hour to many depending upon the part volume, mass and Z height.