Rapid Prototyping

Rapid prototyping refers to various processes for the rapid production of sample components based on their design data. Similar approaches can be found in rapid tooling or rapid manufacturing, where rapid tooling deals with the production of tools and rapid manufacturing deals with the production of components and finished products. Rapid prototyping is useful in the creation of prototypes and models. Rapid prototyping manufacturing processes generally aim to convert existing CAD data directly and quickly into workpieces without manual detours or molds, if possible. The processes involved are additive build-up processes, for which the STL format is usually used as the interface. The processes, which have become known since the 1980s under the category of rapid prototyping, are usually prototyping processes that produce workpieces layer by layer from shapeless material using physical and/or chemical effects. Combined with other technologies, such as reverse engineering, computer assisted design, virtual reality and modern toolmaking processes, rapid prototyping is also subsumed under the term rapid product development.

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