Tool-Less Rapid Prototyping Technologies - An Overview 911115

The advent of three-dimensional computer aided design (3D CAD) significantly enhanced the productivity and efficiency of engineers and designers. The ability to view a graphic presentation of the design, surfaced to resemble the actual final object, greatly aids validation of the accuracy of translation from concept to design. Sophisticated computer CAD combined with modern graphics allows the designer to rotate the object and visualize it from any desired perspective.
At all times, this data presentation is a two-dimensional view of the object. To complete complex designs, the designer requires fabrication of the actual part. Holding and viewing the object, and inserting the part into the assembly it was designed for, provide tangible feedback on the design that is not achievable from viewing the computer screen. This paper will describe a variety of machines currently available or soon to be released that fabricate prototypes directly from CAD files.


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