Strategy for Composite Development in Rapid Prototyping
The polymeric parts built with a stereolithography apparatus (SIA) have good dimensional accuracy, but they cannot be used as functional prototypes because of their low mechanical properties. This paper describes the concept of fabricating fiber composites by 3-D photolithography. In this process, the strength and stiffness of parts are improved over stereolithography by adding fiber reinforcement to the resin. An automated desktop photolithography unit (ADPU) was designed and built in-house, to add continuous E-glass or quartzfibers in situ to the photoresin. Thefirst composite parts made by 3-Dphotolithography are presentedin this paper, thefeasibility ofcurvilinearaddition offibers is demonstrated, andstrategies for selective reinforcement are discussed.