What is Rapid Prototyping?
It can be called as the group of different techniques that are used to fabricate a scale model. A physical part or an assembly is done using 3D design with the CAD method. Later, the construction of the part or the assembly of the part is done by the use of additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology. Rapid Prototyping was first available in the year 1980 with the stereo lithography technology and the techniques were used to make the models and parts. Today, there are lots of industries that use this technology.
Rapid Prototyping has many benefits as it is fast and effective in communication of the designs, few flaws, and cost effective, low labor cost, better quality products, greater flexibility in design, multiple designs can be made and finalized. Rapid Prototyping is a 3D printing technology where the machine reads the data and design from the CAD and makes layers from the 3D printers. This technology can make the models within a few hours. The 3D Rapid Prototyping technology has made possible and shown great results in the efficiency of GM wind tunnel testing in the entire car and truck lineups. There has been a great speed in the production due to the RM Laboratory and the GM aerodynamics lab has increased their numbers to double due to their testing scale models in the last 2 years which resulted in contributing to the improved fuel efficiency on the next generation GM vehicles.
Early days the situation in the lab intensive projects was it used to take weeks or sometimes months for the process of sculpt in clay and then cut and cast into a mould. Now this process is done within a few minutes. The RP lab never sleeps and receives the digital files from all over the world and is followed by the scheduling and manufacturing.