Rapid Prototyping (RP) can be defined as a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data. Rapid Prototyping has also been referred to as solid free-form manufacturing, computer automated manufacturing, and layered manufacturing.
RP has obvious use as a vehicle for visualization. In addition, RP models can be used for testing, such as when an airfoil shape is put into a wind tunnel. RP models can be used to create male models for tooling, such as silicone rubber molds and investment casts. Using suitable material, highly convoluted shapes (including parts nested within parts) can be produced because of the nature of RP.
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