3D printing – rapid prototyping

In the previous post, i have posted an article about printing, which is actually 2D pronting. In this post, i will post article on 3D printing.
I am sure some of you must have known about it. Basically, it’s almost similar to that of 2D printing. The different is that 3D printing prints virtual objects from your computer into 3D solid objects. Instead of using ink, like in 2D printing, it uses plactic material ( for example ABS) to print your object.
Before 3D printing exist, industries tend to hire artist to make/realize a 3D model from the product design ( make a mockup). This method is very much time consuming and require special ability from the artist. This method is also prone to error since it is performed manually. As a result, the lead time required to produce a product is also long.
This condition is of course not good gor industries to do bussiness. And because of that, a new need to be found: to make a tool to help industries to realize a mockup within a short period, good result and model accuracy. And so, 3D printing was invented.
Before a 3D solid model can be produced, a design needs to be made. Then the design must be saved in a certain format file which can be opened in rapid prototyping data ( Usually in STL format). Then only that, you can print your design as 3D solid model using 3D printing.
Rapid prototyping machine for 3D printing usually serves a small scale model, because this machine is initially made not for making a mass production, but rather mockup model to evaluate the design. This machine can make a mockup with high precision and complex shape as stated in design file. Due to this reason, it may take several hours to complete the design.
When a 3D mockup has been generated, it is useful for designer to evaluate and make improvement based on the model.
If the mockup is considered to be good and no need improvement to perform, it means that the design is good and ready for mass production.

The photo below shows a small rapid prototyping machine for 3D printing in my laboratory:

20120601-150930.jpg

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