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Rapid manufacturing

From Academic Kids

Rapid manufacturing is a technique for manufacturing solid objects by the sequential delivery of energy and/or material to specified points in space to produce that solid. Current practice is to control the manufacturing process by computer using a mathematical model created with the aid of a computer. Rapid manufacturing provides a large advantage in speed and cost overhead compared to alternative metal manufacturing techniques such as powder metallurgy manufacturing or die casting. The true definition of rapid manufacturing involves the use of the created part in production (see http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/mm/research/rapid-manufacturing/). Where the part is used in the development process then the appropriate term is rapid prototyping.

Rapid manufacturing is variously called freeform fabrication (FFF), solid freeform fabrication (SFF), layered manufacturing and 3D printing. It encompases techniques such as stereolithography (SLA for stereolithography apparatus), selective laser sintering (SLS), fused deposition modeling (FDM), laminated object manufacturing (LOM), inkjet systems and three dimensional printing (3DP). Unlike methods such as CNC milling, these techniques allow the fabricated parts to be of high geometric complexity.

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Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS)

A laser is used to melt metal powder and deposit it on the part directly. This has the advantage that the part is fully solid (unlike SLS) and the metal alloy composition can be dynamically changed over the volume of the part.

Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)

Sheets of paper or plastic film are attached to previous layers by either sprayed glue, heating, or embedded adhesive, and then the desired outline of the layer is cut by laser or knife. Finished product typically looks and acts like wood.

Microfabrication or lithography process

A material (like silicon wafers) is repeatedly photoetched and recoated to form a part in layers.

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