Three Dimensional Printing: Rapid Tooling and Prototypes Directly from CAD Representation
Industrial productivity and competitive success depend on fast, efficient product development technologies. The flexible manufacture of tooling and mechanical prototypes can greatly reduce the time required for bringing a product to market. Tooling frequently dominates manufacturing time and cost, thereby determining the minimum economic batch size for a given process. Tooling can be extremely complex and is generally one-of-a-kind, requiring much human attention to detail. As a result, fabrication of tooling for such processes as injection molding or lost wax casting, commonly requires several months of work. Three Dimensional Printing offers an alternative to conventional options which do not adequately answer the demands for rapid prototyping and speedy, low-cost production of tooling.