Student involvement

For a description of the RP equipment used in the RPMI laboratory.

In cooperation with instructor, the RPMI provides rapid prototyping assistance for selected design groups in a class that is a candidate for building rapid prototyping parts. Once the part or parts have been designed, a build request must be sumbitted. On the build request form under the part specification sections, please select part application. This will aid the RPMI lab staff in determining which RP process best suits your prototyping needs. To help guide you through the various choices a brief description of each type is listed below:

  • Concept Prototype--Provide a concept of a 3D model prior to building an advanced staged model on rapid prototyping systems.
  • Design (Verification) Prototype--Used to review aesthetic and ergonomic aspects of a design. Normally you are not concerned with mechanical aspects or accuracy.
  • Geometric Prototype--Used to examine the accuracy, from and fit of a product or its components.
  • Functional Prototype--Used to test functional aspects of a design. Normally involves individual components rather than an entire product.
  • Technical Prototype--Used for testing of all functional aspects of a product.
  • Benchmark Prototype--Used to compare the performance measures for particular processes with other, specifically in relation to RP.
  • Casting Master Prototype--Used to create a pattern for a mold or patterns from a mold.
  • Quickcast Pattern Prototype--Used to create an investment castings from the StereoLithography process.
  • AIM Tooling--Used to directly produce StereoLithography tools for use in injection molding.

Parts must be designed in 3D using a solid modeler package such as(AutoCAD, IDEAS, Pro/Engineer Solidworks, etc.). A .STL outputted file format must be submitted in order to have prototypes built. .STL is the name of a file format that basically consist of the part boundary in the form of a set of triangles. Most solid modelers can (theoretically) create .STL files, but this capability may not be available on the CAD system used. For a listing of proven CAD solid modelers and descriptions on how to create a .STL file.


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