History of rapid prototyping

The technology of rapid prototyping has made a revolution in the field of printing and manufacturing technology. It has its wide areas to cover. The process of this technology has included an extraordinary fastness in manufacturing prototypes or the functional models for testing the ideas, concepts, designs, functionality, performances and the output. Your clients can express their immediate feedback on the prototypes and its utility. The technology is superfast and essential for the system designing and considered as the most cost effective one in terms of reduction of project costs.

It can be termed as the group of technical processes used for making or constructing the scale models of a product by using three dimensional (3D) Computer Aided Design (CAD) data. “Stereolithography”, the first ever such type of rapid prototyping technology invented by 3D system of Valencia, a Californian organization in United States, in 1986. And after that the developmental revolution is running on.

The process of Stereolithography was developed and pioneered by famous scientist Charles Hull in 1986. He has given the patent for this technology. He has been recognized for the patent for manufacturing of Apparatus related to 3D objects by Stereolithography. It is considered that Charles Hull is the father of Rapid Prototyping for his astounding research work.

It is also termed with various names in the world, such as Freeform Fabrication (FF), Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF), Digital Fabrication (DF), Automated Freeform Fabrication (AFF), Solid Imaging (SI), 3D Printing, Laser Prototyping, Computer Automated Manufacturing, Layer based Manufacturing, and Additive manufacturing. This technology has its immediate offer of visualization to the engineers and designers with full range of iterations.

In the early 60s an engineering professor has raised this concept of possibilities of doing amazing things with computer technology or automated machine tools. He was renowned professor Herbert Voelcker. At that time those automated machine tools were started implementing on the factories and Voelcker was trying to find the ways through which those machine tools can be programmed such a way to generate output of a design program of a computer system

Later on 70’s, Voelcker developed the usual tools of mathematics that clearly describe the 3d aspects and lead to the original theories of algorithmic and mathematical theories for solid modeling. These theories on the basis of modern software programs can be used designing almost everything mechanical. Which range from the tiniest toy car on the tallest skyscraper. Volecker’s theories changed the designing methods while in the seventies, but, the existing options for designing remained quite definitely in use. The earlier method involved the machinist or machine tool controlled by the computer. The metal hunk was cut away and the appropriate part remained per requirements.

In the later 80’s the famous researcher Carl Deckard, from University of Texas conceptualized some brilliant idea on layer based manufacturing. He conceived some ideas like fabrication of models with layer by layer. He used laser light for fusing the metal powder in making solid prototypes, single layer at one time. This idea of layer based manufacturing of models, developed by Deckard also called as “Selective Laser Sintering”. The results were really promising.

The history of rapid prototyping technology is bit recent and new to the world. It has experienced lots of leaps and bounce. Nonetheless it must be admitted that with rapid prototyping technology the designing ideas and concepts of a product has got wide range of scopes and will get astonishing results.

It must be admitted that Voelcker’s and Deckard’s amazing and researched works has added an extra millage to the development of significantly growing industry known as rapid prototyping. This has transfigured the designing and printing industry a lot and rapidly.

Nowadays it has become easier to work with the rapid prototyping. The engineers are required to draw the design on the computer screen with the aid of computer programs. The program will allow them to make any changes or iterations on the design and will get the prototype physically with the help of this additive technology.