3DP and Prototyping Technologies and SLS Prototyping and SLA Prototype

Jun 19 08:02 2008 Ryan Rounds Print This Article

SLA Prototyping Process and the process of SLS Prototyping is discussed along with various explanations on different Prototyping Technologies

Rapid prototyping is a process by which a working model or prototype is developed to test the various design ideas,Guest Posting features, concepts, use, functionality and performance. The user can immediately give a feedback to the producer. The technology of rapid prototyping is quite revolutionary and innovative and has found widespread applications in nearly all types of industries. The prototypes can be developed on the basis of past design and its performance and necessary modifications can be made to refine the final product as per the requirements. Rapid prototyping has manifold advantages like reduction of process cost, time and risks, conceptualizing of the actual product, delivery of high quality product, better communications and so on.


As it is with all the technologies, there are some disadvantages as well associated with rapid prototyping like communication gaps, high expectations of the users which are not fulfilled and so on. However, the benefits surely do override all the advantages. There are a host of different rapid prototyping technologies.


Rapid Prototyping Technologies: The numerous rapid prototyping technologies may include the various types like additive, formative or subtractive. Initially, rapid prototyping technologies involved only additive processes. The major difference between the various additive technologies is the method in which layers are built for creating parts. Some rapid prototyping technologies melt or soften materials for producing the Layers (FDM, SLS), whereas other technologies lay down liquid material called thermosets and these are later cured by different methods.


The various rapid prototyping technologies are SLA or Stereolithography, SLS or Selective Laser Sintering, LOM or Laminated Object Manufacturing, SGC or Solid Ground Curing, LENS or Laser Engineered Net Shaping, FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling, 3DP or Three Dimensional Printing, Inkjet, EBM or Electron Beam Melting and miscellaneous non-commercialized technologies.


SLA or Steroelithography: The rapid prototyping technology of SLA or stereolithography provides with the greatest accuracy and gives the best possible surface finish among all the rapid prototyping technologies. This technology uses liquid photopolymer resin that has the property of solidifying on contact with the correct color light. The most commonly used photopolymer materials need UV light, but resins that work in visible light are also used.


SLS or Selective Laser Sintering: SLS or Selective Laser Sintering rapid prototyping technology uses metallic powders or thermoplastics. This technology is quite similar to stereolithography. The finishing time is reduced as the undercuts and overhangs are given support by the solid bed of powder. The surface finishes are not as good as stereolithography. It requires no final curing like SLA, but the object is porous as it is sintered. The mechanical characteristics of the object can be improved by infiltrating the object with some other material as required by the application. This method is used in direct fabrication of ceramic and metal tools and objects.


Other Rapid Prototyping Technologies: LOM or Laminated Object Manufacturing rapid prototyping technology uses paper as the base material. EBM or Electron Beam Melting methods use titanium alloys for their base material. The rapid prototyping technology of 3D Printing makes use of different materials as base materials.

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Ryan Rounds
Ryan Rounds

Go to Prototype Zone to get your free ebook on Prototyping. Prototype Zone also has a Prototype  Forum, Rapid Prototyping Information, and a PrototypeBlog with daily news on Rapid Prototyping. Go to www.prototypezone.com to visit the site.

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