One of the important steps prior to the production of a functional product is building of a physical prototype. Prototype is a working model created in order to test various aspects of a design, illustrate ideas or features and gather early user feed-back. Traditional prototyping is typically done in a machine shop where most of parts are machined on lathes and milling machines. This is a subtractive process, beginning with a solid piece of stock and the machinist carefully removes the material until the desired geometry is achieved. For complex part geometries, this is an exhaustive, time consuming, and expensive process. A host of new shaping techniques, usually put under the title Rapid Prototyping, are being developed as an alternative to subtractive processes. These methods are unique in that they add and bond materials in layers to form objects. These systems are also known by the names additive fabrication, three dimensional printing, solid freeform fabrication (SFF), layered manufacturing etc. These additive technologies offer significant advantages in many applications compared to classical subtractive fabrication methods like formation of an object with any geometric complexity or intricacy without the need for elaborate machine setup or final assembly in very short time. This has resulted in their wide use by engineers as a way to reduce time to market in manufacturing, to better understand and communicate product designs, and to make rapid tooling to manufacture those products. Surgeons, architects, artists and individuals from many other disciplines also routinely use this technology. § Prototype: It is a model fabricated to prove out a concept or an idea.

 § Solid Modelling: It’s a branch of CAD that produces 2D or 3D objects in an electronic format. 

  • Definition: Rapid prototyping is basically a additive manufacturing process used to quickly fabricate a model of a part using 3-D CAM data.
  •  It can also be defined as layer by layer fabrication of 3D physical models directly from CAD.